Thursday, November 3, 2016

AG Schneiderman Goes To Bat For Related/Met's Owners In Parkland Mega-Mall Fight

Proposed Nightmare - Willets Point West. A $1 billion Bloomberg-era giveaway of 47.5 acres of public parkland in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park to one of the country’s most politically connected developers.


By Geoffrey Croft

The City’s most politically connected developer along with the owners of the New York Mets are pulling out all the stops in its quest to build the city’s largest mall on public parkland.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has petitioned the State’s highest court to vacate a lower court decision which prohibits the commercial development of the mega-mall in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The developers strategy in court precedings and in public misstatements has been to try and connect the two development projects -  Willet’s Point West,  a proposed massive mall on 47 acres of public parkland, and Willets Point,  60 acres of automotive shops on the other side of Citi-Field.

In July 2015,  The New York State Appellate Division rejected the parkland mega-mall shopping complex deal and ruled in favor of plaintiffs, including NYC Park Advocates, who sued to block the city and the Queens Development Group from seizing nearly 48 acres of public parkland in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. 

The court ruled that the project violated the Public Trust Doctrine and prevents any construction on parkland from proceeding.  

The Queens Development Group - a joint venture between The Related Companies and Sterling Equities, whose owners are New York Met’s principle owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz,  are attempting to build a 1.4 million square foot mall as part of a 48 acre project in the Park. 

The proposed mall in Flushing Meadow Corona Park was never part of the original Willets Point development which was approved in 2008.

The public land was thrown in to sweeten the deal for developers.

Related and Sterling have donated at least $187,300 in contributions to Governor Cuomo and AG Schneiderman since 2010 according to the Board of Elections’ website.  

Donations from Related’s top two executives and their wives,  Stephen M. Ross and his jewelry designer Kara Ross,  and Jeff and Kara Blau are included in the contributions.

More to Come...

Read More:

Council Misled City On Willets West Land Grab
A Walk In The Park - January 14, 2016 - By Geoffrey Croft 

A Walk In The Park - August 20, 2015 

A Walk In The Park -  March 22, 2013 

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