ST. GEORGE — A labor struggle that threatened to upend plans to build the world's largest Ferris wheel on Staten Island has ended after developers reached an agreement with unions.
According to multiple sources, the developer of a $220 million, 125-store Empire Outlets project — planned as part of the Ferris wheel development on the island's north shore — reached an agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York late on Tuesday.
The project was in jeopardy after developer BFC Partners said it planned to only partially use union labor for the project. The neighboring New York Wheel's developers had already promised to use union workers, but the two projects were tied together as a package.
The City Council had reportedly been trying to find a way to split them so the wheel could be approved without the mall.
“After weeks and months of aggressive actions on this project ...we are pleased to report to you that Donald Capoccia, the principal of BFC [Partners], the developer of this project, has committed in writing to the construction of the entirety of this project using union labor of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York,” the Trades Council said in a memo sent to union members and obtained by DNAinfo.
The details of the agreement have yet to be released. The expectation, according to sources, is that the project will be approved by the City Council during a scheduled hearing on Wednesday.
Build UP NYC, a labor coalition that includes the Trades Council, 32BJ SEIU and the Hotel Trades Council, released a statement late Tuesday saying it was pleased with the agreement.
“Residents of Staten Island, working men and women, can be confident that Empire Outlets will create jobs that pay good wages with health insurance, retirement security and investments in training and education that will allow employees, including new entrants into the work force from the local community, to support their families, advance their careers and join the middle class,” the statement said.
Donald Capoccia, BFC Partners' founder, said in a statement, "We’re one step closer to a project that’s great for New York and transformative for Staten Island.”