FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 01, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG UNVEILS PLANS TO REDEVELOP HOMEPORT AND REVITALIZE STAPLETON NEIGHBORHOOD ON STATEN ISLAND
Request for Proposals Issued as part of $66 Million in Infrastructure Improvements
Mayor Also Unveils New Vision for Historic Tappen Park
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg traveled to Homeport in Staten Island to unveil a comprehensive redevelopment strategy for the Stapleton neighborhood and North Shore waterfront. The Mayor announced that the City's Economic Development Corporation (EDC) issued two Request for Proposals (RFPs) for engineering and landscape design services required to implement the plans for the redevelopment of Homeport, a former naval base that will be transformed into a mixed-use development with a thriving residential, commercial and retail district. Plans include the creation of a community sports complex, banquet hall, and restaurant and farmers market. In addition, the Mayor announced that the Department of Parks & Recreation is initiating a comprehensive plan to restore Stapleton's historic Tappen Park. Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, City Councilman Michael McMahon, EDC President Andrew Alper, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden and Alan Fishman, President of Independence Community Bank, which is undertaking a study focused on ways to revitalize downtown Stapleton, attended the announcement.
"Redeveloping the North Shore of Staten Island's waterfront is just another tremendous example of our administration's successful five-borough economic development strategy at work," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The process began last year when we established the Homeport Task Force to develop a plan for this unique waterfront site that would be economically feasible and acceptable to the Stapleton community. The final plan fulfills that potential by incorporating essential residential, retail, commercial, open space and cultural programming initiatives, strengthening the economic viability of the neighborhood, and integrating the surrounding community. I applaud the Task Force for creating a consensus-building process that allowed Staten Islanders to play a critical role in determining the future of Homeport and the surrounding Stapleton community. And because it was essential to undertake Stapleton's revitalization in a comprehensive and thoughtful way, we are also incorporating the restoration of Tappen Park and downtown Stapleton into our planning efforts."
"On behalf of the Staten Island community, I want to express my thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and EDC President Alper for leading the Homeport Task Force over the last year to today's unveiling of the new Stapleton waterfront," said Borough President Molinaro. "I've always believed that by the end of 2005, a plan for the Homeport would be in place, and I am confident that the new Stapleton waterfront will be welcomed by the community and will continue the revitalization of the waterfront from the St. George Ferry Terminal to the Verrazano Bridge."
"Today's announcement of the site plan work of the task force and the commitment of over $60 million in capital money is great news for the Homeport, Stapleton and all of Staten Island," said Councilman McMahon. "Mayor Bloomberg and EDC President Alper have kept their promise to plan and develop this site and for that we are grateful. The Homeport's future is bright indeed."
The City has allocated $66 million for infrastructure improvements over five years for the Homeport redevelopment plan. During the course of a year-long planning effort, the consultant team led by Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler (HR&A) reached out to more than 100 community residents and local business owners for input and held many public meeting and working sessions. The final plan combines mid-density development with significant open space, a waterfront esplanade and streetscape improvements. Open space will make up almost half of the 36-acre site. Development will be comprised of 350 residential units in three buildings, a restaurant and banquet facility, a sports complex, ground-floor retail and other uses totaling about 600,000 square feet. In addition, a part of the site will be reserved for future commercial development uses. The esplanade will offer public access along the Homeport waterfront and connect to work already underway to create continuous waterfront access from St. George to Stapleton. Parking will also be provided to meet the demand associated with these new uses.
In the past two months, EDC issued two RFPs for infrastructure work; the first is for a consultant team to provide engineering design services focusing on roadway, esplanade and bulkhead engineering, and the second is for landscape design services to improve the streetscape along Front Street and the creation of the esplanade. The consultant teams for both services are expected to be selected this month and the overall design process is expected to take about one year. Construction of the improvements is anticipated to begin in 2006, and actual development is expected to start in two to three years. Meanwhile, City Planning has initiated a rezoning to allow for site redevelopment in accordance with the waterfront plan. The City gained ownership of the site, located south of the St. George Ferry Terminal between Front Street and the waterfront, after the closing of the naval base in 1995.
"This plan is the result of a true collaboration among all key stakeholders and will go a long way toward enlivening the North Shore waterfront with uses that benefit all of Staten Island," said EDC President Alper. "We realized that no plan for Homeport could be successful without taking into consideration the entire Stapleton community. We look forward to a strong working relationship with Staten Island's elected officials and members of the community to make this plan a reality."
"While Stapleton is one of Staten Island's most urban, walkable, and mixed use neighborhoods, one of its premiere assets - the waterfront - is largely inaccessible," said City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden. "The plan developed by the Task Force will reconnect Stapleton to its waterfront, and provide a mix of uses, waterfront esplanade, and public open space that will catalyze investment in a rejuvenated Stapleton town center."
Parks & Recreation's plan to restore Tappen Park includes the creation of a new plaza area fronting on Bay Street and space for informal gatherings and events. In addition, the plan calls for refurbished lawns, new plantings and landscaping, and new wrought iron decorative fencing to replace aging pipe rail fencing around the perimeter of the park. Mayor Bloomberg allocated $400,000 for phase I of the project, which includes new pathways throughout the park. Construction of the pathways will begin in Spring 2005. Parks & Recreation is working with local elected officials to secure funding for the remaining phases of the project.
"The revitalization of Tappen Park will contribute greatly to the improvement of surrounding businesses and residences," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe. "We hope that by transforming the park we can help to improve the economic climate of the neighborhood. Restored to its original splendor, Tappen Park will continue to attract residents and visitors to historic Stapleton for years to come."
To complement these efforts, the Department of Small Business Services also is helping revitalize the area around Tappan Park and Bay Street by contributing a $160,000 commercial revitalization grant to the Downtown Staten Island Council for a project focused on retail attraction efforts.
In addition, a study focused on ways to revitalize downtown Stapleton sponsored by Independence Bank for downtown Stapleton, to be conducted by HR&A, will be finalized by mid-2005. The Homeport Task Force determined that the waterfront couldn't be revitalized without also considering the upland community. The downtown Stapleton study area is bounded by Hannah Street on the north, St. Paul's Avenue on the west, Front Street on the east and Townsend Avenue on the south. Independence Community Foundation and SI Bank & Trust Foundation are providing $175,000 toward the study.
"The original branch of the SI Bank & Trust Division of Independence is located on Beach Street, off Bay Street and adjacent to Tappen Park, and we have renovated an adjacent office building for a major back-office operation that is bringing 145 new jobs to Stapleton," said Independence President Fishman. "As today's welcome news by Mayor Bloomberg and EDC promises to lead to vibrant new public spaces on the waterfront, Independence is making an investment in the future of the downtown Stapleton community by initiating this study."
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Michael Sherman / Janel Patterson (Economic Development Corporation )
Warner Johnston /Ashe Reardon (Parks)
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