Willets Point redevelopment 4 to 8 years away: Ferreras

ferreras-jeremy

Julissa Ferreras

Espousing an opinion that has become more and more common among officials involved with the project, City Council candidate Julissa Ferreras said last week that she doesn’t see the Willets Point redevelopement getting off the ground for another four to eight years.

Ferreras, the former chief of staff for Hiram Monserrate who is now running for his vacated Council seat, said she is committed to ensuring the city’s proposed vision becomes a reality, but she does not see construction beginning in the area until 2012 or 2013 at the earliest.

“Willets Point I don’t think is going to happen tomorrow. But I want to work as closely as I can with the city to ensure it happens sooner rather than later,” Ferreras said.

Ferreras worked closely with Monserrate and the city throughout the public approval process and said considering the complexity of the project, taking extra time may be the most prudent course of action.

“There’s really no need to rush into something unless it is going to be beneficial to everyone in the community,” she said.

Ferreras added that she is best suited to take the reigns as the local council member because of her extensive experience with the project working for Monserrate.

The foundation of our vision is the same.  Ensuring a continuation of the same ideas is important,” Ferreras said. “There are so many levels of things that are promised and I want to see that it comes to fruition.”

The Economic Development Corp. has said they hope to begin remediation and construction on the redevelopment project at Willets Point next year, but recently sent out letters to the more than 250 businesses in the area informing them that no businesses will be moved from the site prior to June of 2010.  A spokesman for the EDC said it has made no official changes to its plan, but conceded that the agency is currently reassessing and regrouping following the City Council’s vote to approve the project on Nov. 13.

Willets Point tenant business leader Marcos Neira said the city gave businesses a similar timeline in recent meetings with the city, giving businesses in the area three to four years before they would have to relocate. Several business owners have also said that property acquisition negotiations with the city have slowed to a crawl since the vote after reaching a fever pitch in the beginning of November.

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As I previously reported, Willets Point tenant business leaders held a press conference Saturday to demand emergency road repairs in the area.  TL reporter Ivan Pereira was there and is working on a story, so I’ll have more on that soon.

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