Rendering of Willets Point, which received financing from Wells Fargo. Photo courtesy of NYCEDC

Destined to be the largest 100 percent affordable New York City housing development built in the last 40 years, Willets Point Phase I has obtained a total of $360 million in financing. That total includes an approximately $236 million construction loan, as well as an approximately $124 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit investment. Wells Fargo’s Community Lending and Investment group arranged the loans.

Willets Point Phase I is being developed by Queens Development Group, a joint venture formed by Related Cos. and Sterling Equities. Phase I groundbreaking launched the start of construction more than a year ahead of schedule. The development will provide the first of more than 2,500 affordable homes, along with approximately 35,000 square feet of new public open space and substantial infrastructure improvements.

The project will include 220 apartments reserved for seniors. Units will be available for rent from a range below 30 percent of area median income.

New school

“The city needed to provide infrastructure to the site, and needed to provide remediation as well,” Alan Wiener, Wells Fargo’s vice chairman of commercial real estate, told Multi-Housing News. “It was a highly complex deal involving many city agencies, because the site was rezoned. There were a lot of moving pieces.

“We do a lot of affordable deals across the country. In 2023, between debt and equity, we’ll do in excess of $5 billion across the country. We’re really committed to the space, know it well, do regular and sophisticated deals, have the ability to execute and have been really proud to be part of this.”

The project is anticipated to produce $6.1 billion in economic impact over the next three decades. It is expected to generate 1,550 permanent jobs and 14,200 construction jobs.

As part of the redevelopment, New York City School Construction Authority will build a 650-seat school for children from Willets Point and surrounding communities.

The development will eventually also include New York City’s first-ever soccer-specific stadium, more than 100,000 square feet of public open space, a 250-room hotel and ground-floor retail serving the surrounding community. Two months ago, a Queens Multifamily Report found borough occupancy growing.

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