From The Staten Island Advance:
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
By PHIL HELSEL
ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A sweeping new vision for the St. George waterfront that includes four 18-story apartment towers and townhouses where a parking lot now sits was unveiled at a high-powered economic development meeting in Sea View last night.
It will be years before the concept for the residential plan, dubbed the St. George Waterfront project, and a retail counterpart eyed for another nearby, approaches reality -- if ever.
Still, there was plenty of enthusiasm at the Staten Island Economic Development Corp.'s "pre-conference" held last night at the Joan and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center in Sea View.
"It's like driving toward a mountain; it doesn't seem to get any closer but if you keep driving toward it you'll get there," said R. Randy Lee, SIEDC chairman.
Last night was the first public showing of a development plan for the parking lots straddling the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, which a consultant called typical of the massive investment needed to jump-start the whole area.
On the parking lot to the west of the ballpark, urban planner Tom Jost envisions four 18-story apartment towers lining Richmond Terrace, followed by 12-, 8- and 6-story towers and townhouses, and ending with a redeveloped waterfront park, all above an underground parking garage.
Where the parking lot between the ballpark and the Ferry now lies, the concept calls for a pedestrian-centered shopping and retail area, anchored by an IMAX theater, an urban grocery store like a Whole Foods Market, and restaurants with a waterfront promenade.
"At this point we're still in development; you need to have a plan to show to the city and to get developers interested," said Jost, director of urban planning for the consulting group ARUP. "These two sites are the best economic development sites on Staten Island."
Yesterday was what organizers called "a teaser," and more details on the St. George concept and other development projects are expected to be unveiled at the development corporation's 10th annual SI Conference 2008, slated for the Hilton Garden Inn, Bloomfield, on Tuesday.
The SIEDC also threw its full support behind other business and retail projects already under way all over the Island.
The Waterfront Commons, a 1.3 million-square-foot, open-air retail and entertainment center to be built on the Tottenville waterfront directly south of the Outerbridge Crossing. Permits are still pending but the developer hopes to have it finished by 2010.