Bloomberg and other public officials officially kicked off the project Thursday. The mayor says the $50 million infrastructure project will pave the way for new building in the downtrodden, flood-prone area that has long suffered from a lack of drainage.
The work to expand sewer capacity in the area and improve water quality is expected to be finished in 2013.
The city is in the process of selecting a developer for the next phase of the project, which is to include up to 680,000 square feet of retail space and 400 homes on nearly 13 acres. Eventually, the city wants to rebuild 62 acres.