City officials are preparing to seize the land of some Queens property owners as they move forward on a highly anticipated redevelopment project.
Officials say they are beginning the eminent domain process against owners in the Willets Point neighborhood, located next to Citi Field.
They say nearly 90 percent of property owners in the first, 20-acre section of the project have already agreed to sell.
Although they are continuing to negotiate with the nine remaining landholders, the city has also begun the process to condemn the areas if necessary.
After a bitter debate, the City Council approved the usage of eminent domain in the area in 2008.
The eventual plans call for housing, bars, hotels and shopping to take the place of what is now mostly car repair shops and other industrial sites.
The city has long targeted the area for redevelopment, claiming in part that the area is an environmental hazard.
Property owners say a productive, thriving business area is being illegally seized.