Today’s news:

City’s largest Willets Point property deal on the rocks

The city’s largest property acquisition deal with a Willets Point business could be in jeopardy, according to the owner.   

The city will meet Thursday morning with Sambucci Bros. Inc., which owns more than 52,000 square feet of property at Willets Point, in an effort to smooth a snag in their relocation agreement, Daniel Sambucci Jr. said Monday afternoon. Sources familiar with the negotiations have told the TimesLedger that rumors have been swirling around the deal for weeks, and that problems have arisen with the city’s plan to relocate the business to College Point.

Sambucci declined to go into detail, but said he will meet with the Economic Development Corporation Thursday morning to try and get the deal done.

“A couple of things have come up,” he said.  “I’m an optimistic person, but I don’t know. We’ll have to see how it goes.”

Reached for comment, the EDC said their commitment to Sambucci Bros. remains unchanged.

“We have a contract that remains in effect and we intend to honor all commitments,” an EDC spokesperson said. “Nothing has changed.”

The city originally reached an agreement with Sambucci Bros. just weeks before Community Board 7 issued its recommendation to approve the city’s plan to redevelop the 62 acres of land that make up Willets Point.

The deal with Sambucci Bros., which has operated its auto-salvage yard in the neighborhood for nearly six decades, was a symbolic victory for the city, as many members of CB 7 and the City Council have voiced their concerns over the city’s ongoing negotiations with the more than 15 owner-occupants and about two dozen landlords who own property in the area.

The city is hoping to clear Willets Point, where more than 250 businesses currently exist, and redevelop it into a sprawling residential and commercial neighborhood that would feature as many as 5,500 housing units and more than 2 million square feet of retail and office space.

If the deal falls through, it would be a major blow to the EDC, which has experienced difficulties in negotiating with the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association — a group of landowners opposed to the city’s redevelopment plan who own more than 50 percent of the property in the neighborhood.  

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138. 

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