Tiny Houses BIG on Staten Island?

The Salsa Box Tiny House by Shelter Wise is a cozy, compact cabin with a queen-sized bed and lots of creative nooks and crannies for storage. (Michael Lloyd for Oregonlive.com)

The Salsa Box Tiny House by Shelter Wise is a cozy, compact cabin with a queen-sized bed and lots of creative nooks and crannies for storage. (Michael Lloyd for Oregonlive.com)

Tracey Porpora at The Staten Island Advance tackles this very question:

In the 1980s John Mellencamp sang about the American heartland where little pink houses exist.

Some decades later, builders are trying to make home ownership affordable by building “tiny houses” across the county — particularly in the Midwest.

Albeit not pink, these apartment-size houses are actually becoming a trend.

For example, the Portland, Or.-based Shelter Wise, has designed a compact 96-square-foot home, reports Oregonlive.com. Though tiny by all standards, the design boasts all the amenities a homeowner needs: queen-size bed, bookshelves, bath and kitchen.

The best part: it costs only $22,500.

With the struggle for many middle- and low-income wage earners to be able to afford home ownership on Staten Island, some people are wondering if the tiny house could be the answer. 




The Curbed Cup Neighborhood of the Year: S.I.’s St. George!

via Curbed.com


It wasn’t even close. In the Curbed Cup finals, No. 15 seed Staten Island North Shore neighborhood St. George trounced Greenpoint, which was ranked 8th at the start of the tourney. St. George earned 76.7 percent of the vote in a matchup that garnered a pretty epic turnout by Curbed Cup standards, with almost 2,000 ballots cast. (It was probably helped by the all-out booster campaign championed by SI Live and various Twitter feeds, among others.) Big congratulations to the underdog with lots of heart—at least as displayed by many spirited commenters, anyway—you are 2013’s neighborhood of the year. May your giant observation wheel and mega outlet mallbreaking ground this year be the catalyst and everything else you hope it will be.
· All Curbed Cup 2013 coverage [Curbed]

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.

Plan to Boost Staten Island ‘Downtown’

WSJ Logovia LAURA KUSISTO/ The Wall Street Journal

Staten Island sits just a half-hour ferry ride from the crowded shores of Lower Manhattan, but the area where passengers disembark presents a challenge for city officials and residents who hope to create an urban center in the city’s most suburban borough.

In its last six months, the Bloomberg administration has made a primary focus its efforts to revitalize the area around the ferry terminal and nurture a long-imagined downtown. Officials are set Monday to unveil an incubator to foster businesses for small artists and craftsmen and a program that will pay select retailers to open shops and restaurants.

“In terms of the amount of resources and volume of projects we’re working on, it’s among the very top priorities,” said Thomas McKnight, an executive vice president of the city Economic Development Corp.

A commercial strip of the St. George neighborhood in Staten Island's north shore is pictured in 2011. The neighborhood got the area's first new grocery store in 40 years.

A commercial strip of the St. George neighborhood in Staten Island’s north shore is pictured in 2011. The neighborhood got the area’s first new grocery store in 40 years.

The city has already announced plans for developers to build the world’s tallest Ferris wheel and a new outlet mall by BFC Partners, projects expected to draw about 4 million visitors a year. This month, a developer broke ground on a venture that ultimately will include about 900 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail at Homeport, a decommissioned naval base overlooking the harbor.

Now the city is also creating a $425,000 pool for retailers it selects who agree to sign three-year leases in the area, including anything from small independent coffee shops to major chains. The idea is to help offset rent or other costs if they gamble on the area. If it works, the program—a first for the city—could be used in other areas.

The north shore, which encompasses parts of the neighborhoods of St. George, Stapleton, Tompkinsville and Clifton, has the quaint charm that modern developers work hard to manufacture, with brick houses, Colonial-style government buildings and white wooden porches.

But the area has declined in recent decades. Suburban-style neighborhoods have sprawled around the island, and the Staten Island Mall has become a major draw for shoppers. About 100,000 square feet of retail space is vacant along the north shore. Most streets are dominated by takeout joints and small bodegas.

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Tide turns as groundbreaking at Staten Island’s old home port ushers in $1B boom

6-21-2013 1-29-12 PMvia Jillian Jorgensen/ SILive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Twenty years after the U.S. Navy left the Stapleton home port behind, redevelopment of the prime piece of waterfront has finally begun — and it’s just the beginning of $1 billion in private investment slated for the North Shore.

“Now, at long last , we’re about to do something different with this site, something new,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “Not a naval vessel but a bright new future for a stunning, but long neglected, stretch of our waterfront.”

Bloomberg was on hand Thursday to turn a shovel at the groundbreaking for the $150 million development that will eventually contain 900 apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail space — all of it with “some of the best harbor views anywhere in the city,” he said, featuring the Manhattan skyline and the towering Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

And the city will pump $32 million into the project, in the form of infrastructure upgrades, including development of a waterfront esplanade. Of the apartments, 20 percent will rent for below-market rates, Bloomberg said, and the enterprise will create 1,100 construction and 150 permanent jobs.

“Today’s groundbreaking also marks a big step toward realizing our vision for the dynamic future of Staten Island’s entire North Shore,” Bloomberg said.

With the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets planned to open beside the St. George Ferry Terminal in 2016, and Light House Point identified as a spot for another mixed-use development that would include a hotel, Bloomberg said roughly $1 billion in private investment in projects “are going to bring new life, new jobs, new opportunity to this community.”

“Welcome to the Renaissance of the North Shore,” City Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) said.

At the home port, phase one, to be completed in 2015, will include 570 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail — which David Barry, president of Hoboken-based developer Ironstate, said would be mainly food-and-drink options, so people can enjoy time along the waterfront. Many of them will be familiar names, but not national chains, he said.

“We’re looking in places like Brooklyn, in Staten Island and in New Jersey,” he said. “We’re not focusing on national chains, but people who have successful businesses in these areas and are looking to open a second or third location.”

They’re also looking to attract the twentysomethings who routinely flee the borough to live somewhere hipper, more affordable, or more connected to mass transit.

“This development is designed to be particularly attractive to young Staten Islanders, just starting their careers,” Bloomberg said. “And that’s going to meet an unfilled need on Staten Island, which for too long has lost many of its young adults to other boroughs, just because they couldn’t find apartments the right size for somebody starting out.”

The development has been long in coming — Borough President James Molinaro said requests for proposals first went out in 2003, 10 years after the Navy left. It took until 2008, he said, to find Ironstate and bring them to the Economic Development Corporation to get approved for the job said — and it was a further five years to the groundbreaking.

But Molinaro said it wouldn’t have happened at all without a third term for Bloomberg.

“Do you really think we’d be standing here today, or sitting here today celebrating this? Do you think we’d be celebrating the Wheel or the outlet center? No, we wouldn’t have been. We definitely wouldn’t have been,” Molinaro said. “So the additional term that he ran for, people may not be satisfied in Queens or Brooklyn or the Bronx. I really don’t care. For Staten Island, it was a blessing.”

There were many ideas for the area — including a park, which Molinaro shot down, saying the area should generate tax revenue. Ms. Rose said the best idea ultimately won out.

“This one turned out to be the most comprehensive strategy that would benefit our local economy as well as maintain our young people in place,” she said. ‘When we lose them we lose what they have to share with our communities.”

It’s Ironstate’s first development in Staten Island — but they’ve developed dozens of waterfront locations, including the W Hotel in Hoboken and Pier Village in Long Branch in New Jersey.

“We’re in a period of time when a lot of our industrial properties are changing over and becoming more commercial and more residential, and I think this is emblematic of that,” Barry said, “and emblematic of this move to respect the outer boroughs and what they have to offer.”

The project has been built to FEMA’s new flood standards, Barry said, and the company’s waterfront developments elsewhere weathered Sandy well. In addition to being at the proper elevations, the homeport development will feature generators to power elevators, charge phones and keep the management office running.

“We’re very, very confident that we are well-prepared for any storm that’s going to come,” Barry said.


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

via Jessica Daily at Curbed.com

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?