STAPLETON — The city broke ground on a mixed-use development at the former Navy Homeport on Stapleton’s waterfront, a decade after the city put the project out for developers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President James Molinaro and City Councilwoman Debi Rose put shovels in the ground for the Stapleton Waterfront Development site, which will bring apartments, shops and a public park to the neighborhood.
“We’re breathing new life into a once blighted and abandoned spot in our city,” Bloomberg said.
The $180 million LEED-certified project, led by New Jersey-based Ironstate Development, will have two buildings with 900 apartments, 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, parking and a public esplanade. The project took so long to break ground because the city spent six years searching for the right developer with a comprehensive vision for the site, officials said.
“I think we’re going to execute something that’s going to make everybody on Staten Island and the city proud,” said David Barry, president of Ironstate.
Barry said the company is seeking regional restaurants, cafes and some clothing stores to rent the retail space, not larger chain companies.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the developers made the project more storm resilient by building it 2 feet higher than originally planned and installing backup generators, Barry said.
“It is designed to be as ready for a storm as possible,” he said. “We're very confident in this project to withstand any storms that may come.”
The esplanade will also help catch some of the tidal overflow and reduce flooding, and the city plans to put in a new tidal wetlands area between Canal and Water streets.
The first part of the project, which will have about 340,000 square feet of housing and 25,000 square feet of retail and parking, is expected to be completed in 2015, Barry said. A timeline for the second part of the project has not yet been set.
Bloomberg said the project will help fill a need for apartments for young Staten Islanders, who generally move out of the borough. Twenty percent of the apartments will be affordable housing.
“For too long [Staten Island] has lost many of its young adults to other boroughs,” he said, "just because they couldn't find apartments the right size for somebody starting out.”
Rose said this project, along with the Ferris wheel and outlet mall, will finally start the revitalization of the North Shore’s waterfront residents have long awaited.
“Welcome to the Renaissance of the North Shore,” she said.