Mayor Adams Unveils Vision for Willets Point Transformation, Generational 100 Percent Affordable Housing Project, Privately Financed Soccer Stadium
November 16, 2022 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New York City FC News Release
NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Eric Adams today unveiled his administration's vision for the next phase of the transformation of the Willets Point community in Queens. Through a new partnership with 2021 Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup champions New York City Football Club (NYCFC) and Queens Development Group (QDG) - a joint venture of Related Companies and Sterling Equities - Willets Point will be anchored by 2,500 new affordable homes, the largest 100-percent affordable, new construction housing project in New York City in 40 years, which will be constructed on an accelerated timeline. Developed in close partnership with New York City Councilmember Francisco Moya, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and community members, Mayor Adams' plan will also bring New York City's first soccer-specific stadium to Willets Point along with over 40,000 square feet of public open space, a 250-key hotel and neighborhood-serving, ground-floor retail shops that will create good-paying jobs for community residents.
This historic plan will bring significant long-term economic opportunity to a community that has long been underserved. The entire project is expected to generate $6.1 billion in economic impact over the next 30 years, creating 1,550 permanent jobs and 14,200 construction jobs. With the creation of a new soccer stadium, Willets Point will become the city's premier sports hub, with the New York Mets' Citi Field and U.S. Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center both also within walking distance of the MTA's Mets-Willets Point subway and LIRR station. More information on the project is available online.
"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a brand-new neighborhood, a Willets Point that offers real opportunity for working people and all New Yorkers," said Mayor Adams. "Our plan will deliver 2,500 affordable homes - New York City's largest fully affordable housing project in decades. And with a fully privately financed soccer stadium, a hotel, and local retail, we will create not only homes but also quality jobs, $6 billion in economic activity, and a true pathway to the middle class. This is what it means to build a 'City of Yes.'"
Conceptual renderings of Mayor Adams' vision for Willets Point. Credit: S9 Architecture
"I'm thrilled to see today's announcement of a transformative project at Willets Point that produces affordable housing, creates good-paying jobs for New Yorkers, and delivers a premier sports venue to Queens," said First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo. "I congratulate Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer for her leadership on this project and the long list of agencies that will make this vision a reality."
"The transformation of Willets Point is a 'goal' for the Adams administration, as this project will create a dynamic, new neighborhood in New York City that will include affordable housing, open spaces, retail, and a world-class soccer stadium that will result in an economic impact of more than $6 billion over the next 30 years," said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. "I am proud to be part of this team that 'Gets Stuff Done' and believe the best is yet to come for the Willets Point community."
"After decades of discussion, finally the Willets Point community will get affordable housing and the critical infrastructure needed to support it," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. "Today's investment and action create the essential building blocks - shelter, roads, sidewalks, and a water system - that residents and future generations need to thrive."
"The Adams administration is committed to becoming a 'City of Yes' with projects like Willets Point and more across the city. As outlined in 'Housing Our Neighbors' - the mayor's housing and homelessness blueprint - we are going to fight to expand housing, affordability, and community-focused amenities across the city," said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. "We are excited to work with the community, local councilmember, and development partners to deliver the largest 100-percent affordable new construction project in 40 years with 2,500 new homes. Alongside the new stadium, open space, and local jobs that this project will bring, we are building new housing to ensure that all New Yorkers have a place they can afford and raise their families."
"Today is a joyous day not just for Queens but for New York City, as we announce one of the most ambitious development projects of this generation. The transformation of the Willets Point district into a thriving new neighborhood - focused around 2,500 affordable housing units and a privately financed soccer stadium - is a generational investment in the world's borough that will bring over $6 billion in economic impact and nearly 16,000 jobs," said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball. "After decades of working with the community, we are thrilled to see this historic project continue to advance. NYCEDC is proud to work alongside our partners at Queens Development Group, New York City Football Club, and city government. Thank you to Mayor Adams for his continued leadership, Councilmember Moya and Borough President Richards for their partnership, and everyone who helped make this project a reality."
"Willets Point exemplifies the city's bold vision for placemaking development anchored by deeply affordable housing," said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. "This long-held public site will be transformed into thousands of affordable homes, a new soccer stadium, and a school, and it will create thousands of jobs. Thank you, Mayor Adams, our partners at NYCEDC, local elected officials, and Queens community stakeholders for working with us to unlock the potential of this great site."
"This is the right place and the right time to finally build a new soccer stadium worthy of New York City and fit for the NYCFC, alongside an impressive amount of affordable housing," said New York City Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick. "As we work to build an even more dynamic and equitable city, Queens and Willets Point are leading the way."
"The transformation plan for Willets Point demonstrates the collaborative efforts underway to bring comprehensive solutions to our city's long-term economic development and affordable housing needs," said New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin. "HDC looks forward to joining all our partners, elected officials, and city agencies as we drive forward this dynamic project that will benefit the Queens community for generations to come."
Mayor Adams' vision for the transformation of Willets Point builds on core goals in his "Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City's Economic Recovery" and "Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness," including leveraging neighborhood infrastructure investments to catalyze equitable community development and creating housing opportunities in neighborhoods with strong access to jobs, transit, schools, parks, and other amenities.
After bringing New York City its first professional championship in a decade, NYCFC will finally now have a home stadium of their own. NYCFC plans to construct the privately financed, 25,000-seat soccer stadium with union labor, aiming to open it in 2027 - following the highly anticipated 2026 FIFA World Cup™ that New York and New Jersey will help host. The new stadium will make New York City a national soccer capital, laying the groundwork for the next chapter in NYCFC and MLS' history. This stadium represents a major opportunity to capitalize on professional soccer as a growing attraction that can bring investment and economic opportunities to New York City, as well as grow love of the sport to more New Yorkers.
The 2,500, 100-percent affordable homes will cover seven buildings - including one with 220 homes for low-income seniors - with construction on the first buildings set to begin in 2023, one year ahead of the original timeline. Additionally, QDG will participate in HireNYC, a city program that connects local residents to jobs. They will seek to achieve the highest standards of environmental sustainability through either LEED Gold U.S. Green Building Council certification or Enterprise Green Communities.
The Phase 2 plan builds on Phase 1 of the city's development in the community, which includes the first 1,100 of the 2,500 total affordable homes as well as a new 650-seat standalone public school, new public open space, and significant infrastructure investment. QDG has undertaken significant remediation of the formerly contaminated soil on the Willets Point site, allowing construction of the first affordable homes to begin early.
"DEP is proud to be a part of the transformative vision that Mayor Adams has put forth for Willets Point," said Chief Climate Officer and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. "We will be working with our project partners to build the sufficient water and sewer infrastructure needed to serve the new affordable housing, hotel, and soccer stadium. This historic development plan will create an exciting new future for the Queens community."
"DDC is very active in Queens and already has 21 infrastructure projects in construction in the borough with a value of $980 million," said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley, P.E. "This includes the massive Southeast Queens Initiative, which is improving street conditions and reducing flooding in one of the largest and most diverse middle-class communities in the country. DDC stands ready to take on whatever challenge is required to complete the transformation of Willets Point."
"We thank Mayor Adams for his vision for the Willets Point neighborhood, and DOT will continue to support safe, sustainable, and efficient transportation options for Queens residents and visitors to the growing sporting hub developing in the neighborhood," said New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "Just this past week, DOT was proud to jumpstart a project that will complement and support these transformational developments, as our Northern Boulevard bus priority project will provide new Willets Point residents and soccer fans alike faster and more reliable bus service connecting to the M, R, and 7 subway lines."
The proposal was first presented in 2018 by the Willets Point Task Force, a group of Queens stakeholders represented by state and local elected officials; Community Boards 3, 4, and 7; economic development groups; community-based organizations; and local civic associations. Over four months, the task force identified community priorities and produced recommendations for the city-owned land, including a scenario that reimagined the Special Willets Point District as a hub for a new soccer stadium with public facilities, programmed open space with active and passive uses, and new homes at a range of affordability levels.
The significant infrastructure investment for this project will include additional environmental cleanup - supplementing the ongoing remediation work - as well as installation of new storm and sanitary sewers, reconstruction of streets, and improvements to the existing streetscape. As with Phase 1, this next phase of the Willets Point transformation will need to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process - including environmental review - and the New York City Public Design Commission. The ULURP process is expected to start by the end of 2023.
"New York City Football Club is proud to stand with Mayor Adams, Councilmember Francisco Moya, and union brothers and sisters to announce our privately financed soccer-specific stadium in Queens," said Marty Edelman, vice chairman, NYCFC. "Our club has been investing in New York City for over a decade, and we are eager to invest these funds to help build a new community for our First Team, our dedicated fans, and our great city."
"This is a game-changing moment, not just for Willets Point but for New York City, and we're grateful to Mayor Adams for his leadership in prioritizing building the affordable housing our city needs," said Jeff Blau, CEO, Related Companies; and Jeff Wilpon, Sterling Equities. "Willets Point is a prime example of what can be accomplished through public-private partnership, and together with the city, we will deliver on a transformative vision to bring 2,500 affordable homes to the heart of Queens."
"I'm incredibly proud and excited to announce a project like none other seen by this city or any city in this nation," said Councilmember Moya. "We have a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a brand-new neighborhood that will bring the largest 100-percent affordable housing project in the last 40 years, a new 650-seat elementary school, and a 100-percent privately financed professional stadium in New York City - right here in the most diverse place in the world: Queens. This is an investment that will support neighborhood kids' futures, fuel our local economy, create a pipeline for local hires, and support our brothers and sisters in labor who have been the backbone of building this city. What started as a dream - when I was just a little boy playing soccer in Flushing Meadows Corona Park with my family who came here from Ecuador - will now be a reality for kids from Corona, who like me were born with a love of soccer in their veins. With this new neighborhood and stadium, we are building opportunities for the kids in my district and all over New York City to not just root for their local team but also to one day be able to don the jersey of their hometown club."
"The goal has always been to make Queens a true live-work-play destination. And with this historic announcement, Queens is scoring like never before," said* Queens Borough President Richards*. "From massive investments in affordable housing, state-of-the-art infrastructure, union jobs, and local retail to cementing Queens as the soccer capital of the country, it's impossible to overstate the influence that Willets Point's transformation will have on the World's Borough and our region as a whole. Neighboring communities like Corona and Flushing - which have suffered from decades of disinvestment - must benefit the most from this project, and I look forward to working with our partners to support tireless local hiring and community benefits campaigns in the years ahead. But Willets Point's restoration leaves no doubt that Queens is, without question, the future of New York City."
"The Blues are looking for a home in Queens, and it is my hope that today's announcement is the start of a thoughtful process that allows us to welcome them in the World's Borough," said New York State Senator Jessica Ramos. "A project of this magnitude needs to focus its benefits on the community sustaining it, so I look forward to welcoming a team my neighbors can be proud of, as well as family-sustaining jobs, lasting investments, and improved public infrastructure to Willets Point."
"Not only will a new soccer stadium at Willets Point become a cultural and economic hub for generations to come, but this project will also immediately benefit the lives of thousands of hard-working New Yorkers with the good-paying union construction jobs it will create," said Gary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. "Our members are prepared and eager to contribute to this initiative, which will provide them a fulfilling, family-sustaining path to the middle class and further stimulate New York's economic comeback. We look forward to the day our members and all New Yorkers can enjoy a match in the modern, state-of-the-art arena our soccer fans and players truly deserve."
"This project is about building the future of New York. As our city continues to rebound from the economic challenges of COVID, this project will put union members to work while building a whole new, completely affordable community where our members can afford to live," said Kyle Bragg, president, 32BJ SEIU. "The 2,500 units of affordable housing will be transformative for New York. Our members need good jobs, our members need housing, and our members are going to be excited to watch championship soccer right here in Queens. The Willets Point project has it all."
"With thousands of union construction jobs, a new privately funded stadium, new schools being built, and infrastructure projects, the Willets Point project will not only revitalize an important section of Queens, but it will also drive the long-term economic growth we need in New York City," said Mike Prohaska, business manager, Mason Tenders District Council/Local 79. "This project will put a paycheck in thousands of workers' pockets; it will pay mortgages and put food on the table for thousands of families. Our members could not be more proud to support a new professional stadium in New York."
"Our members are excited to be a vital part of creating a privately funded stadium, especially because it includes new schools and better infrastructure for Queens," said Joseph Azzopardi, business manager and secretary-treasurer, District Council 9, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. "As the city continues its recovery, it is important to make sure New York continues to build for the future, to build smart projects that create new, good-paying jobs. We are ready to get to work and build something New York will be proud of for years to come."
"The 20,000 strong New York City District Council of Carpenters is proud to support this visionary project that will create thousands of good-paying union jobs in New York City, in addition to historic investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, and education," said Joseph Geiger, executive secretary-treasurer, New York City District Council of Carpenters. "The stadium and surrounding development will serve not only as a world-class economic and cultural attraction, but also as a reminder of Mayor Eric Adams and Councilmember Francisco Moya's commitment to the smart policies needed to make New York City affordable for the middle class once again."
"As a strong advocate and longtime supporter of the redevelopment of Willets Point, and an original member of the Willets Point Task Force, we are thrilled with today's once-in-a-lifetime development opportunity," said Thomas J. Grech, president and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce. "This triple play of affordable housing, a state-of-the-art soccer stadium, and far-reaching economic development makes this development a winner. We are proud of Mayor Adams and the efforts of his team to jumpstart this and get it done."
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