by John Pitera

Several years ago, Casandra Properties was engaged by the New York City Economic Development Corporation to find a developer for the former Navy Home-port site on Front Street in Stapleton. The vast acreage and pier that was once home to the USS “The Sullivans”, had been abandoned by the Navy decades earlier when it moved operations to Virginia and several subsequent Requests for Proposals issued by the city returned no responses.

While many saw the task of finding a developer and project for the site as a daunting one, the team at Casandra Properties knew that the waterfront site located along the Staten Island railway would be attractive for the right developer – and we knew just where to find that developer.

Ironstate Development Corporation, a family owned and operated organization which had just completed Pier Village in New Jersey seemed to us to be the perfect choice.

What we liked about Pier Village was the synergy between the retail shops and the apartments above. We also liked that it was created along the waterfront of an economically depressed area. What we learned about the project was that many of the young people who chose to live in Pier Village were originally from Staten Island.

It didn’t take long for David Barry, President of Ironstate Development Corporation, to conjure a vision for the old Navy Homeport. He wanted a place for young people to live with ease. Where everything they needed would be at their fingertips from communal kitchens to organic coffee houses, he wanted the Staten Island project to attract the young people who have been forced to leave the borough in order to find an affordable apartment to rent.

Last month Urby Staten Island began leasing units and I was fortunate to be among the first realtors to have a tenant engaged and ready to sign a lease within an hour of the sales office opening. Not surprising when you consider all that Urby Staten Island has to offer. Apartment amenities include: energy efficient apartments, in-home Washer/Dryers, hardwood floors, built in storage and custom built in closets and LED lighting. Community amenities include: outdoor pool, urban garden with farmer in residence, communal kitchen with chef in residence, filtered water bottle filling station, keyless building and apartment entry, digital package system (available 24/7) 2-floor, indoor Technogym fitness center, bike room and waterfront promenade all within walking distance of the Staten Island Railway station and two stops from the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

Urby is a total rethink of modern housing dedicated to helping young people live livelier. If you are interested in an apartment in Urby or anywhere else on Staten Island, email me at