FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2005
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES CONSULTANT TEAM TO BEGIN IMPLEMENTATION OF STAPLETON WATERFRONT REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
Consultants to Begin Work on $66 Million Infrastructure Improvements
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the selection of the consultant team for engineering and landscape design services required to implement the redevelopment plan for the Stapleton neighborhood and North Shore waterfront. The City's Economic Development Corporation (EDC) selected Weidlinger Associates to provide engineering services, and Margie Ruddick/Wallace, Roberts & Todd to guide the aesthetic design of the project. The selection of these two prestigious firms is a major step toward bringing to life the comprehensive redevelopment strategy for the new Stapleton waterfront as outlined by the Mayor's Homeport Task Force, which was announced in November 2004. The plan calls for the transformation of the former naval base into a mixed-use development with a flourishing residential, retail and commercial district that will have a community sports complex, banquet hall, restaurant and farmers market.
"The plan to recreate the Stapleton waterfront into a bustling commercial, recreational and retail district is moving forward at a remarkable pace," said Mayor Bloomberg. "While possessing some of the most breathtaking views in all of New York City, the people of Staten Island have for too long faced a waterfront that is largely inaccessible. That will now change as these two renowned consultant firms start working to implement the plan created by the Homeport Task Force, which strives to reconnect Stapleton to its waterfront, and provide a mix of uses and public open space that will spur private investment in a rejuvenated Stapleton neighborhood."
"On behalf of the people of Staten Island, I want to express my thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and EDC President Alper for their leadership and commitment to revitalizing the Stapleton waterfront," said Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. "By bringing this new consultant team on board, we are now one step closer to realizing the full potential of Staten Island's waterfront properties that stretch from the new St. George Ferry Terminal to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge."
The City has allocated $66 million for infrastructure improvements over five years to make this redevelopment plan possible. Improvements include the creation of a waterfront esplanade, the rebuilding of Front Street, and site preparation. The design process is expected to be finished in about a year, and construction is expected to begin in 2006.
The Department of City Planning is crafting a special zoning district - Staten Island's fourth such district - to allow for site redevelopment consistent with the plan developed by the Mayor's Homeport Task Force. The new Stapleton waterfront will combine mid-density development with open space that will make up almost half of the 36-acre site. The project calls for the development 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. The esplanade will offer public access along the North Shore waterfront and continuous waterfront access from St. George to Stapleton. Additional parking and significant streetscape improvements are also part of the plan.
"The people of Staten Island who have waited feverishly for the promise of the Stapleton Waterfront to be fulfilled will now see the start of an exhaustive effort to revitalize the area through the redevelopment of the Homeport," said Councilman Michael McMahon. "The work by this team of accomplished firms will be the centerpiece in the rebirth of the North Shore, Staten Island's Gold Coast."
"I am very proud of the Homeport Task Force's plan, which will help fulfill Stapleton's potential by incorporating vital residential, retail and commercial amenities that will revitalize the neighborhood and integrate the surrounding community," said EDC President Andrew Alper. "I am confident that Weidlinger Associates and Wallace, Roberts & Todd will help us bring that vision to life. This has been a consensus-building process from the beginning and I fully expect the Staten Island community to play an integral role as we move ahead in the development process."
Weidlinger Associates, a New York City engineering firm, will provide civil engineering services, surveying, transportation and marine engineering work. The firm is engaged in major projects rehabilitating and protecting the City's infrastructure, and also provided the structural design for the Staten Island September 11th Memorial. Based in Philadelphia, Wallace Roberts & Todd will coordinate urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, lighting, signage and community outreach for the project. The firm's noted work on the Baltimore Inner Harbor, the Lower Manhattan Development Plan and many projects along the Hudson River are just a few examples of its track record as a leader in waterfront redevelopment. Margie Ruddick, whose firm recently merged with Wallace Roberts & Todd, will manage the project.
To complement the redevelopment of the former Homeport naval base, which New York City gained ownership of in 1995, the City is also planning to restore Tappen Park and create a new plaza area on Bay Street with space for informal gatherings and events. The Department of Parks & Recreation's plan calls for refurbishing the lawns, new plantings, landscaping, and new wrought iron decorative fencing, which will replace the aging pipe rail fencing around the perimeter of the park. The City has allocated $400,000 for phase I of the $1.5 million project, which includes new pathways throughout the park. In addition, the Department of Small Business Services is contributing a $160,000 commercial revitalization grant to the Downtown Staten Island Council for a project intended to boost the retail sector in the area around Tappen Park and Bay Street.
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Michael Sherman/Janel Patterson (Economic Development Corporation)