The long-promised transformation of Staten Island's north shore is finally taking shape, as private investors are spending nearly $1 billion on four development projects and the city is making several improvements, most notably building a waterfront esplanade. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
More than 500 rental units at the Stapleton Homeport will soon be ready for apartment hunters seeking a new home.
Urban Ready Living, or URL Staten Island, is a partnership between a private developer and the city to attract young professionals to the area and finally connect residents to the north shore waterfront.
Transforming the old Navy base into a thriving community hasn't been easy.
"A fair bit of work has to go into turning that into what it will become," said Nate Bliss of the Economic Development Corporation.
A fair bit of work, and lots of money. The city will spend $130 million on work that includes a waterfront esplanade, new roads, bike lanes, landscaping and improved lighting.
The creation of a tidal wetlands cove to protect against flood damage is just one of the changes that came as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
"There have been design tweaks. There's been changes of elevation. There's been changes to the building," Bliss said.
The city has already finished some of its work. The sidewalk on Front Street has been cemented, and the street has been repaved. It's all part of an effort to prepare the area for the many residents expected to move in when the project is complete.
The homeport project is set to be finished first, but three others nearby also hope to breathe new life into the area.
Construction is to begin this summer at Lighthouse Point, which will transform the old Coast Guard base into a retail and residential community. Work has begun on the Empire Outlet center, and ground will soon break on the gigantic New York Wheel.
"These projects all sing together in harmony and eventually will be a pretty unprecedented reclamation of this waterfront," Bliss said.
To guarantee all of these projects can benefit from the 1.5 million tourists who ride the Staten Island Ferry every year, the EDC is overseeing an improved signage plan inside the ferry terminal. That's to make sure visitors know where to go to see everything the north shore will soon have to offer.