BFC Partners last week broke ground for Empire Outlets, a 340,000 s/f Staten Island retail complex that will create over 1,800 jobs and bring $285 million in private investment to the North Shore.
The event took place ahead of an anticipated start on the New York Wheel which, together with the city’s first outlet, is expected to transform Staten Island’s waterfront.
“Empire Outlets is a well-timed catalyst that will trigger the transformation of the North Shore and position Staten Island for sustained growth into the foreseeable future,” said Donald Capoccia, principal at BFC Partners.
“This project will be a dynamic economic engine for New York City, creating more than 1,800 construction and permanent jobs that will benefit its residents, businesses, cultural and community organizations for generations to come.” NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said the project will utilize the Economic Development Corporation’s HireNYC, a program to provide job access to local, low-income New York City residents.
The developer also intends to hire 25 percent minority and women-owned business enterprises. The 100 stores that will call Empire Outlets home will also hire locally.
Goldman Sachs, through its Urban Investment Group, provided $130 million of capital for Empire Outlets.
“Through investments we’ve made throughout New York City to create growth in underserved communities, we’ve seen the impact that providing retail opportunities and community space brings to a neighborhood,” said Margaret Anadu, Managing Director in the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.
“We’re pleased to have been a part of the Empire Outlets project, the largest public-private partnership in decades that will create jobs and economic growth in Staten Island.”
Joseph Ferrara, a principal at BFC Partners, said there has been “unprecedented interest from retailers and entertainment groups from around the globe,” in Empire Outlets.
“Partnering with New York Wheel, Lighthouse Point, the Yankee organization, Snug Harbor & the historic St. George Theater, we as a team will sculpt “Destination St. George” into a worldwide visitor magnet for decades to come.”
Along with 100 designer outlet retailers, the development will have a gourmet dining destination with a variety of restaurants and cafes.
Among the national brands joining Empire Outlets are Nordstrom Rack, H&M, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic Factory Store, White House Black Market, Guess Factory Store, U.S. Polo Assn., Columbia Sportswear Company, Innovation Luggage, Wilsons Leather, G.H. Bass & Co., Lids, Obey Your Body, Starbucks, Walgre.
Plans also include a 190-room hotel and a 1,250-space structured parking garage below the retail and hotel components.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2016. Designed by SHoP Architects, Empire Outlets will feature pedestrian walkways to the water and a sustainable green roof.
BFC Partners has entered into a 99-year lease. They, along with the New York Wheel, will pay $2.5 million per year in rent to the City, with additional participation rents once certain ridership and gross revenue milestones are reached.
The developers will also contribute $300,000 per year in contributions to area-wide maintenance.
The New York Wheel, the largest observation wheel in the Western Hemisphere, will stand 630 feet tall and is expected to welcome as many as 30,000 riders per day during peak season.
The two development sites are located steps from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and orm part of a “Destination St. George” a tourism campaign.
Lighthouse Point will include 100 residential units, a hotel, shops and dining options, public open space, and parking.
The New Stapleton Waterfront will provide additional housing.