Sterling Equities are looking to build a 1.4 million square foot mall on 48 acres of mapped parkland in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, west of Citi-Field stadium. This represents the largest public parkland giveaway in recent history. The proposed project would allow the seizing of the public parkland to be used exclusively for non-park purposes without first getting State Alienation approval as is required under the law. The construction of such a mall on public parkland would be unprecedented. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.
By Geoffrey Croft
The City and Related Companies in partnership with Sterling Equities, the real estate firm controlled by the owner of the Mets - are attempting to use 48-acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to build a massive 1.4 million sq. ft. mall without seeking State Alienation legislation as is required under state law to use parkland for non-park purposes.
This represents the largest public parkland giveaway in recent history.
The project is part of the proposed $3 billion Willets Point megadevelopment. The majority of the land for the project would be taken from the public parkland.
Critics of the plan argue that if the mapped parkland being proposed for mall use are no longer needed for Citi-Field parking then it should revert back to its original recreational use.
There are a number of legal issues surrounding the attempted disposition of this public land.
It is important to note that this proposed development is apart from Willets Point and was NOT a component of the original Willets Point development that was approved in 2008. It was NEVER an objective of the development to site a mall – or anything else – on any parkland property.
The development would also seize many small businesses.
In the public parkland givaway the city is now desperately trying to rely on a 1961 bill that never replaced parkland used for Shea Stadium.
The 1961 statute that the city and the applicants are desperately trying to rely on in order to justify being allowed to develop the public parkland for non-park purposes does not permit a shopping mall. Administrative Code 18-118 explicitly states that any monies gained from a temporary lease on the property must go back into the property.
Instead of protecting the public parkland area Council member Julissa Ferreras said at a September 3rd City Council hearing she tried to put housing on the parkland being proposed for a mall but was told that use wasn't permitted.
The City Council will also be voting on another controversail Related Companies proposel this one in Manhattan's Upper Eastside Yorkville community.
Ruppert Playground - located between East 92/93rd Street btw. 2nd & 3rd Avenues. The Related Companies has plans to replace a beloved park with a 35-story luxury building. Related Companies currently has no legal right to build on the popular Yorkville playground. The law states that any proposed development on the park requires the consent of surrounding buildings in the original Ruppert Urban Renew area. Despite vehement community opposition local City Council member Dan Garodnick is backing the Related Company. Community Board 8 is the city's most densely populated community and ranks dead last in publicly accessible open space.
The Related Companies is proposing to replace a beloved neighborhood park with a 35-story luxury building. Community Board 8 is already the city's most densely populated community and ranks dead last in publicly accessible recreational space.
The use Ruppert Playground CAN NOT be changed unless a previous-approved Large-Scale Residential Development Plan under the Ruppert Brewery Urban Renewal Area is amended which Related is attempting to do by asking the City Council for a text change.
The law states that any proposed development on the park requires the consent of surrounding buildings in the original Ruppert Urban Renew area. The Related Companies is attempting to take away that right by applying for a "text change" without getting the consent of the other property owners within the boundaries of the original Large-Scale plan.
Despite vehement community opposition City Council member Dan Garodnick is backing the Related Company and is expected to approve a text change.
The community has waged a three-year battle to prevent Related from building on the park.
The nearly one acre park, which opened in 1978 using Federal Community Development Block Grants, is located on E.93rd street.
Both Related Companies projects are expected to sail through despite intense community opposition.
A Walk In The Park - August 9, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft
A Walk In The Park - September 30, 2013
Save Ruppert Playground