By James Prendamano
If you have driven down Richmond Terrace lately, no doubt you noticed a flurry of construction going on around the St. George Ferry Terminal. The concrete parking structure for the New York Wheel is quite visible to passersby. Adjacent to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark the curtain wall continues to be installed as Empire Outlets moves closer to a Grand Opening. On the other side of the terminal, construction fencing is encapsulating the future Lighthouse Point site. And about a mile down the road, Urby Staten Island has opened its doors and is welcoming residents thanks to Ironstate Development owner, David Barry who was the first to recognize Staten Island’s potential.
These large scale private development projects are why the rest of the city is buzzing about our borough. As a native born North Shore Staten Islander – I say it’s about time.
As a young man growing up on Staten Island, I remember all too well the rallies and rants organized by our elected officials to express the frustration residents felt over our borough consistently being treated as an afterthought by the various Mayors occupying Gracie Mansion. Year after year we were short shrift when it came to delivery of services or economic development. Thankfully, those days are behind us. Now Staten Island is actually getting the attention it deserves.
On April 13, 2017, Borough President Oddo announced that he struck a deal with a private ferry operator to provide fast ferry service from a new dock being built by Empire Outlets and The New York Wheel. Though the details haven’t been totally hammered out, the agreement between the Borough President and New York Waterways will provide service from St. George to the 39th Street Pier in Midtown. The deal was heralded by developers and commuters alike and with good reason – a 25 minute ferry ride from St. George to Midtown Manhattan will benefit thousands of Staten Island commuters.
On April 11, the New York City Economic Development Corporation released a report outlining the $1.6 billion dollars in public and private investment along the north shore waterfront. That includes $1.5 million that was awarded to the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce as a grant to help retain and grow business along the Bay Street corridor. Last year the city and state announced Main Street grant funding for the Northfield LDC to improve business facades along Port Richmond Avenue. As if that wasn’t enough, the Department of Small Business Services and the Staten Island Downtown Alliance funded the creation of a merchant association on Jersey Street – one of Staten Island’s long neglected business corridors.
In the span of the last 10 years, while Staten Island was still an afterthought we worked very hard on over a dozen projects along the corridor fighting at every turn to raise the bar and notoriety of the borough to a broader audience. We are very proud to have played an integral role in the North Shores renaissance from the very beginning.
If you would like to join the wave of investment in Staten Island, call me today at 718 816-7799.