Judge puts brakes on Willets West
by Shane Miller
Jul 03, 2015 | 12897 views | 0 0 comments | 404 404 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Plans for a mega-mall on part of the Citi Field parking lot took a hit yesterday, as a judge ruled that the developers of Willets West would have to seek approval for the project from the state.

The private project, which included a “mega-mall” and was touted as necessary to finance the larger Willets Point redevelopment, would have technically been constructed on parkland. Approval from the state legislature is necessary to give public land to a private entity.

“Today’s decision sends a message loud and clear – our parks are not for sale,” said State Senator Tony Avella, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city. “The fact of the matter is, this land was intended to be parkland, not the development of a shopping mall.”

The city gave the land to Related Companies for the 31-acre project under the Bloomberg administration in 2012, arguing that the 1961 law that authorized Shea Stadium also allowed for development of the parking lot.

The judge in the case rejected that argument.

“We are disappointed in the court’s decision and are reviewing our options,” said Law Department spokeswoman Kate O'Brien Ahlers in a statement.
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