Governors Island Seeks 'Visionary' Developer for Southern Half of Island

By Irene Plagianos on January 30, 2013 4:21pm 

DOWNTOWN — The Trust for Governors Island is looking for “visionary” developers to design the southern half of the island, they announced this week.

The Trust issued a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for the “creative” and “transformational” private development of 33 acres on the southern half of the island that’s currently off limits to the public.

The trust is seeking to “generate the broadest possible spectrum of ideas” for the redesign of the land where vacant industrial buildings and old housing now sit, they said in a statement.

Nonprofit, cultural, educational and commercial developers are all encouraged to apply.

The request is the latest step in a massive plan for overhauling the former Coast Guard base. The city plans to invest more than $260 million by 2014 to revamp the island’s infrastructure and build 30 new acres of public space that includes ballfields, a grove of trees and a playful green space with maze-like hedges.

According to the Trust, the 33 acres are bordered by new park space on one side and the future Great Promenade that will encircle the island, on the other.

This is the second call for private development on island. In December, the Trust issued an RFP for the redevelopment of existing buildings in the Governors Island Historic District. The RFEI and RFP, both due on March 14, "represent the next chapter of the Island's ongoing redevelopment," the Trust said.

“With public investment, the transformation of Governors Island is well underway,” said Leslie Koch, President of The Trust for Governors Island in a statement. “With this RFEI, we are inviting organizations to share their vision and ideas for the southern half of the Island and to tell us how they would realize their aspirations.”

The ultimate goal of the large-scale redevelopment is to make the island “a vibrant, year round destination for commercial, as well as cultural and educational purposes,” the Trust said.

The first phase of the island’s new park and public spaces, designed landscape architecture firm West 8, is currently under construction and is slated to be completed in the fall of 2013.

Governors Island will reopen to the public May 25, 2013.

Visit the Trust’s website for more information.

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