At a news conference Wednesday announcing the Willets Pointplan's endorsement by City Council speaker Christine Quinn andcouncil member Hiram Monserrate, Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated,"If the Council passes the rezoning, we can begin the process ofturning this into New York's first truly 'green' communitydevelopment with buildings that use the latest energy-efficienttechnology, and eight acres of parks and open spaces that give NewYorkers new places to play. We think there will be a dynamic mix ofretail and entertainment facilities, half-a-million square feet ofoffice space, a new school, a hotel and a convention center--thecity's first, incidentally, outside of Manhattan."

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Combined, Bloomberg said, "these developments will create some18,000 construction jobs, over 5,000 permanent jobs, generate $1.3billion in direct city tax revenues, and produce an economic impactof at least $25 billion over 30 years." In a statement issued onThursday, Quinn said, "As we find ourselves in the midst of aneconomic downturn, I urge my fellow members to support responsibleand visionary developments like Willets Point. As we confront suchhard economic times, these important projects will create jobs,generate revenues and help keep our city moving forward."

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Bloomberg similarly stressed the importance of moving forward onthe project despite budget constraints. "More than ever it'scritical we continue making these kinds of important investments inour neighborhoods and in our city as a whole," he said at theconference. "And just because we are in the midst of an economicdownturn, and we have to learn to do more with less, doesn't meanthat we can afford to walk away from our long term obligations. Ourcity made that mistake during the tough times in the 1970s and itwas a near disastrous effect. We're simply not going to make thatmistake again."

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The agreement with Quinn and Monserrate follows the September approval ofthe Willets Point project by the New York City Planning Commission.Since last summer, the city has been working on deals with propertyowners to acquireland within the Willets Point area, much of which is given overto auto-repair shops.

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If approved by the council, the Hunter's Point South projectwould reportedly be the largest subsidized project in New York Citysince StarrettCity opened in the 1970s. To be built on approximately 30acres, the plan is intended to create 5,000 housing units, 60% ofwhich would be affordable to middle-income families, according to arelease. The plan would also contain a provision to create 500units for lower-income families. In addition to housing, theproject will include retail space, community and culturalfacilities, new schools and a new continuous waterfront park, therelease states.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.