Us v. Them: Hotel Edition



via The Commercial Observer – When you think of Staten Island, you may not think of packed hotels with tourists banging down the doors to get into them. But the borough’s hotels are faring well compared with their counterparts in other boroughs.

The hotel occupancy rate in Staten Island was 67.9 percent for the first half of this year, up 18 percent from the same period last year, according to data provided to Commercial Observer by STR, a hotel data and analytics company. In Richmond County, the average daily room rate, or ADR, reached $127.23, a 6.2 percent increase from a year ago. The revenue per available room, or RevPar, surged 25.3 percent to $86.37. Demand rose 11.7 percent to 95.59 percent and overall revenue increased 18.6 percent to $12.2 million.

In Manhattan, meanwhile, occupancy only ticked up 0.2 percent to 83.9 percent while the ADR dropped 3.9 percent to $254.72 and RevPar went down 3.7 percent to $213.60. In Queens, the occupancy rate crept up 1.1 percent to 81.1 percent, and RevPar rose 2.4 percent to $140.62. In Brooklyn, the occupancy rate dropped 5.3 percent to 73.1 percent, ADR rose up 1.8 percent to $163.75 and RevPar dropped 3.5 percent to $119.75. (“In order to protect the confidentiality of individual property data, we require a certain number of hotels reporting performance data in order to run a report. We have that in S.I., not the Bronx,” a STR spokesman said.)

James Prendamano, a managing director for Staten Island brokerage Casandra Properties, said the positive statistics were not surprising.

“The fluctuation in the dollar over the past year has sapped tourists buying power,” Prendamano said.“As the tourists seek better value across the board you will find them electing to stay in locations that offer a reduced price point. Staten Island and Queens offer this option while remaining directly connected to Manhattan. Staten Island has seen the most growth… as they offer the most attractive ADR. … It’s simply a direct result of tourists seeking more of a bang for their buck.”

He continued: “The second factor that I think cannot be overlooked is [New York City Economic Development Corporation]’s efforts over the past several years raising awareness in the outer boroughs under their new New York platform. The mayor and his respective agencies are seeing results as they travel the world educating would-be tourists on the wonderful cultural, hospitality, shopping and entertainment options that had previously been overlooked by future travelers.”


Staten Island Getting First Fancy Food Hall at Empire Outlets


image003No corner of the city, it seems, is immune to the food hall trend. The creative team behind Gansevoort Market, which opened in 2014 in the Meatpacking District, are bringing an upscale food court to Staten Island as part of the forthcoming Empire Outlets megaproject. It’ll be called the Marketplace at Empire Outlets, or MRKTPL (yes, really).

Fancy food courts are all the rage these days, and many of them—including the forthcoming ones at Pier 57 and Hudson Yards—are helmed by big-name chefs (in those cases, Anthony Bourdain and Danny Meyer, respectively). While the team behind Gansevoort doesn’t have quite that level of star power, they do have the experience of running that MePa market, which features vendors like Tacombi, Ed’s Lobster Bar, and Champion Coffee. While vendors for MRKTPL haven’t been announced yet, a press release released by BFC (the developer behind Empire Outlets) claims that the idea is to give “out-of-towners an authentic New York feel.” (How that will manifest itself is anyone’s guess.)

The press release also says that the 12,000-square-foot food court will “tie together the history of the New York Harbor with modern communal spaces to eat and gather.” Renderings released by BFC show what that might look like, with an industrial-style look and plenty of open seating (and more than 3,000 square feet of outdoor space), which you can see below.


The project is slated for completion in 2017, along with the rest of the SHoP-designed Empire Outlets, which will include a hotel, restaurants, and a ridiculous amount of retail space. It’ll sit near the New York Wheel, which is currently under construction.


Staten Island Mall expansion is on the horizon

via Tracey Porpora/ Staten Island Advance

SI MallThe Staten Island Mall — the borough’s biggest and only indoor shopping mecca — will be expanding at a time when a large-scale retail competitor, Empire Outlets in St. George, is headed to town.

While Mall officials won’t confirm the plan, sources who are knowledgeable about the pending project told the Advance that the expansion will be on the Richmond Avenue side of the mall in New Springville. It will include an “aesthetically pleasing” modern redesign that allows storefronts to be visible from Richmond Avenue, one source said.

The plan also includes a three-story, above-ground garage, and calls for the food court to be moved to the Richmond Avenue side of the complex, the source said.

Sources also said Mall officials are looking to attract upscale tenants and will likely attend the Global Retail Real Estate Convention in Las Vegas, from May 18 to 20, in hopes of fully leasing storefronts in the new center.

However, General Growth Properties, which owns the mall, has yet to apply for permits from the city Department of Buildings for the project,” said Kelly Magee, a DOB spokeswoman.

But this isn’t the first time the Mall has planned for expansion. A similar project was on the drawing board in 2008 before the economy plummeted.

The Advance published a story about the addition of a “lifestyle center,” or open-air shopping area with pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, that was being planned for the Mall at that time. The Advance reported that the expansion involved pushing out from the Mall’s center toward Richmond Avenue to create an indoor-outdoor wing.

“The Mall has had plans to renovate a couple of times over the years. I haven’t seen these new plans, but I think the Mall remains extremely vibrant; every time I go there it’s crowded,” said Linda Baran, president of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

Sources said the catalyst for revising the plans at this time stems from Mall officials’ desire to remain competitive amid Staten Island’s changing retail landscape.

While sources couldn’t confirm whether all or any tenants have been secured, they said the Mall’s mission is to obtain high-end retailers who can compete with Empire Outlets.

“Even though we are getting a lot of projects — many are on the North Shore — I think people will continue to go to the Staten Island Mall,” added Ms. Baran. “An expansion will likely spark up even more interest.”

And it seems as interest has already started, especially among salespeople who work in different stores in the Mall. Several salespeople said they were excited about “a new wing” with upscale stores.

City Planning Gives Nod to SI Redevelopment

via Paul Bubny/GlobeSt.

SI WheelNEW YORK CITY-In the next-to-last step along the six-month Uniform Public Use Review Procedure trail, the City Planning Commission has given the nod to a redevelopment project intended to transform Staten Island’s North Shore waterfront, including a 625-foot Ferris wheel and the city’s first outlet mall. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan Oct. 30.

“Empire Outlets and the New York Wheel will reinforce New York Harbor as a local and international attraction of significance,” says Donald Capoccia, principal of BFC Partners, which is developing the 340,000-square-foot retail complex in the North Shore neighborhood of St. George. “With access to 8.3 million residents and 52 million tourists annually with $36.9 billion a year in direct visitor spending, these projects will transform the North Shore of Staten Island into a thriving economic engine, echoing its impact throughout the borough and the city.”

Robert Steel, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, notes that the Bloomberg administration is “Mayor Bloomberg is committed to revitalizing the city’s 520 miles of waterfront and bringing jobs and private investment to all five boroughs.” With the commission’s approval of the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets projects, “we are one step closer to bringing these projects to life in St. George.”

The development of two adjacent sites near the Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George is intended to “complement and bolster the economic growth of St. George and of Staten Island,” according to the New York City Econmic Development Corp., which is spearheading the effort. “It will attract more of the approximately two million tourists who ride the Staten Island ferry each year, as well as increased numbers of New York City and Staten Island residents, to the underutilized waterfront.”

The New York Wheel will be built just north of the ballpark. Its 625-foot height will make it 84 feet higher than the Singapore Flyer, currently the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, although an even larger one is reportedly in the works for Dubai. The wheel will consist of 36 capsules, each able to carry up to 40 passengers with a maximum capacity of 1,440 people per ride. It’s expected to attract as many as 30,000 riders per day during peak season and an estimated 4.5 million visitors per year.

A 125,000-square-foot Terminal Building will sit at the base of the wheel. It will include retail, restaurant space, a 4-D theater and exhibition space about New York City history, alternative energy and environmental sustainability. A 950-space structured parking garage will also be built on the site, featuring a green roof with open space, solar panels, planted gardens and a playground. The latter is among the components that were added following the project’s unveiling last September.

The retail component, Empire Outlets, will hold as many as 125 designer outlet retailers and a variety of restaurants and cafes in a 340,000-square-foot space. The plans also include a 200-key, 130,000-square-foot hotel, and a 15,000-square-foot banquet facility. BFC also plans a 1,250-space structured parking garage below the retail and hotel components to accommodate commuters and tourists alike. Construction is expected to begin next year, with a 2016 completion date targeted.

Here Now, the SHoP-Designed Outlet Mall Coming to S.I.

via Jessica Daily at

Staten Island is bracing preparing for its very own megaproject, the centerpiece of which is a 625-foot-tall observation wheel, but the bulk of the development will be a 1,000,000-square-foot outlet mall and entertainment complex designed by firm-of-the-moment, SHoP Architects. Both the mall and the wheel (they have different developers) enter the six-month review process today, and BFC Partners released a slew of new renderings showing the design of the complex, know as the Empire Outlets. Green roofs abound on the multi-tiered project, which will host 125 storesin 340,000-square-feet of retail, plus restaurants and a 200-room hotel.

Cuozzo of the Post reports that several high-end retailers showed interest in the development, to rise close to the St. George Ferry terminal, during the ICSC conference in Las Vegas. Supposedly reps from Coach, Restoration Hardware, Michael Kors, Nordstrom Rack, and Brooks Bros. all showed interest in BFC’s presentation of the Empire Outlets. The developer wouldn’t discuss specifics, but they made clear that not all brands are welcome in the retail space: “We actually have had to turn some people away because we want a certain brand level. There are outlets and there are outlets.”

The project is estimated to cost between $250 and $275 million, and if all goes as planned, it will be complete in 2016. The Wheel developer Richard Marin hopes to break ground next year and open on July 4, 2016. Are you ready, Staten Island?