Willets Point Business Owners Due In Court Over Eviction Notices
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some small business owners getting the boot to make way for the new Willets Point will be in court Friday to answer the city’s eviction notices.
But as WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, some business owners see it as delaying the inevitable.
The city sent out notices to about 90 mostly auto-body repair and scrapyard shops in Willets Point, the blighted area near Citi Field, with an offer of payment equal to a year’s rent if they vacate by the end of November to make way for a retail and entertainment mall.
But among the shops are the livelihoods of hundreds of people, Silverman reported.
“My manager up front has been with me 30 years. That’s almost a lifetime,” salvage yard owner Bob Viala told Silverman.
The buyout offer is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to turn the Iron Triangle into a neighborhood.
The eviction notice to Viala and dozens of other business owners said to be out by the end of August.
But Viala has stayed put and will face the city in court over the matter.
“Do whatever we can to lengthen the process,” Viala said. “Can’t blame them but they could’ve helped us clean up the blight.”
Viala said he understands the desire to revamp the Willets Point neighborhood, but said he’s not hopeful he’ll find a new home for his business.
“Mayor Mike wants to go out, he’s got a legacy to leave behind, so this would be the one,” Viala told Silverman. “They just don’t want the blight.”
“I’d like to see the city of New York step up and try to really help us out here,” he added.
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