The New York City Economic Development Corporation recently issued a Request for Proposals for the 13-block area between Flushing and Corona known as the "Iron Triangle" due to the string of rundown auto junkyards proliferating in the area.Responses may include suggestions for the redevelopment of the entire 75-acre area or for small portions, and proposals can ignore the current industrial zoning designation."This marks a milestone in a decade-long effort to transform this part of Queens into a centerpiece of opportunity and renewal for the entire city," Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) said. The request is actually the second step in the redevelopment push, following last year's Request for Expressions of Interest in which the 13 groups provided sketched-out plans and general ideas about what could be done with the area.Since then a spokeswoman for the EDC said the city has been performing engineering and environmental studies in Willets Point in order to determine the extent of the contamination known to exist in the soils. Within the coming months, the EDC will select a consultant to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and begin the public review process for the redevelopment.Liu said the redevelopment is being looked at with the construction of the new Shea Stadium in mind, which is scheduled for a 2008 completion. He said the emergence of the RFP is big news for Flushing, but he emphasized that the plans must contribute vitality to Flushing and Corona, and not simply displace existing businesses."This ties in well with the planned new Mets stadium. At the same time, it is also crucial that plans for Willets Point complement, and not compete with, the transformations in Flushing and Corona."A spokeswoman for the EDC said the agency has met with and will continue to meet with the Willets Point Business Association, area businesses and community board members as the redevelopment progresses.Business owners in the Iron Triangle have cried fowl after earlier EDC meetings because they claimed The EDC is also overseeing the creation of a comprehensive Business Assistance and Workforce Development Program to assist businesses in Willets Point affected by the redevelopment."This targeted RFP is another step forward in our efforts to transform the underused, underserved Iron Triangle into a new regional destination with a vibrant mix of uses to enhance the area's assets, such as the communities of Flushing and Corona and the Flushing Bay waterfront," said EDC President Andrew Alper.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@times
©2006 Community News Group
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