Today’s news:

Flushing Commons plan enters public review period

The Department of City Planning has begun a public review for the Flushing Commons project, which will allow for input on the development effort from community leaders, area residents and elected officials, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday.

The $800 million project would convert municipal Parking Lot 1 in downtown Flushing into a mixed-use development complete with housing, retail, improved parking facilities, hotel or office space, a new YMCA and a 1.5-acre landscaped town square, Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the project will create 2,000 permanent jobs and 2,600 construction jobs, the majority of which will go to community residents.

“We look forward to continuing to work with community representatives, the local community board, the borough president, the city Planning Commission and the City Council as this project goes through the public review process,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) said Flushing residents should take advantage of the public review process.

“This project has its advantages and disadvantages, all of which will be freely debated in a public and transparent environment,” Koo said. “I am confident that by working together we shall make the best decisions for the residents of our community and the future of Flushing.”

Community Board 7 is expected to review the project Feb. 3. A potential Council vote on Flushing Commons may occur as early as July, with the completion of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure process in September and the beginning of construction in 2011. The housing units are expected to become occupied in 2013.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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