ST. GEORGE — The grand staircase and waterfront esplanade at the St. George Ferry Terminal will be closed for six months while crews work on a new one as part of the Empire Outlets project, officials said.
The existing staircase and waterfront esplanade will be shuttered from March 1 until September 1 while workers build a new, elevated one that will connect to the Empire Outlets' parking garage, according to developers BFC Partners.
"Building a better grand staircase and a greener, more resilient esplanade will improve the Staten Island Ferry experience for residents, commuters and visitors for generations to come," said Joseph Ferrara, principal of BFC Partners, in a statement.
"The result of this much-needed infrastructure work will be something all Staten Islanders can be proud of."
During the work, the stretch of the esplanade from the staircase until Wall Street will be closed to pedestrian use, BFC said. The Wall Street ramp and the esplanade past it will still be open.
The new staircase and esplanade will be elevated around 4 feet to protect them from future storms and separate them from vehicle traffic, according to BFC. They will also add new benches, tables, plantings and trees, developers said.
Empire Outlets, which has been under construction at a former parking garage adjacent to the ferry terminal, will be the only outlet mall in the city when it opens later this year.
It will bring 100 stores — including Nike, H&M and Toys 'R' Us — and a 190-room hotel.
The project came under fire when it was granted $67 million in public funds after developers donated to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaigns.