Some big changes are coming to Staten Island as several development projects in the works have already grabbed the attention of property investors. NY1's Anthony Pascale filed the following report.
Take a good look at Staten Island's North Shore now because many say it won't look like it does now for much longer.
"Over the last 12 months you could see the interest really building up," said Realtor Frank Rizzo.
Construction is set to begin this spring in St. George on the worlds tallest observation wheel, expected to attract four million visitors a year.
An adjacent outlet mall and a hotel will be built alongside, all of it just steps away from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
"You have the most undervalued waterfront property in all of New York City. We've got postcard views of downtown Manhattan, we've got a burgeoning restaurant scene and we've got real estate that's really affordable," Rizzo said.
Potential is what lured Alexander Federico. He's looking to move to the area and to buy properties to fix up and rent out.
"I feel that there's still for a very small amount of time an opportunity to find some good value in real estate here," he said.
Federico recently opened a gym in the neighborhood. His family also owns a business there. He's banking on major changes in the years to come.
"Within the next five years this whole neighborhood is going to be redesigned, redeveloped, looked at as a place to go," Federico said.
When it comes to the people who already live on the North Shore, reaction to all the development is mixed. Some welcome it while others fear it.
"It's been underdeveloped for a long time and this is what people that live on Staten Island consider downtown Staten Island so I think they're looking for more of an attraction here," said one local resident.
"I think a lot of people are thinking rents are going to go up, people are going to get kicked out, yeah it's a big concern," another local resident pointed out.
While many real estate experts expect rents to eventually rise, they also say people will get more for their money.
The wheel and outlet mall are not expected to open until mid 2016, but it appears a transformation of Staten Island's north shore is already under way.