Thursday, July 18, 2013

Empire Outlets Planned for Staten Island Waterfront


New York City residents who want to do outlet shopping typically make the trek to Woodbury Common in Central Valley or Tanger Outlets in Deer Park, New York, both of which are about a two-hour bus ride from Manhattan. However, that's about to change, thanks to a new project that's underway on the North Shore of Staten Island.

Empire Outlets, which will be located next to Richmond County Bank Ballpark, is set to be New York City's first outlet shopping center. It will also be adjacent to St. George Ferry Terminal, which is only a 25-minute (free) ferry ride from Manhattan.

The outlets, a project of BFC Partners, will consist of over 350,000 square feet of retail space, plus a 30,000-square-foot restaurant space and a 20,000-square-foot event space. For those who would rather drive over, there's a 1,250-space parking garage planned. If you'd rather explore the outlets for more than a day, there will be a 200-room, 140,000-square-foot hotel on site so you can rest your weary feet.

Currently, shoppers can expect to see Coach, Nike, and Adidas, and developers are in talks with other big names, including Banana Republic, Old Navy, Kenneth Cole, and others. In total, there will be about 70-80 concepts at Empire Outlets.

At its center is going to be the New York Observation Wheel, a 630-foot observation wheel that's slated to be the tallest in the world. It will be able to hold a whopping 1,440 people per ride. The wheel will not only offer views of the local area, but also of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. The cost to ride the wheel will be in the $20-$30 range, according to estimates.

When asked why the spot was chosen for Empire Outlets, Joseph Ferrara, principal of BFC Partners, explained, "We felt that activating the waterfront with projects such as Empire Outlets and the New York Wheel would instantaneously become a local and international draw. The Staten Island Ferry is currently the No. 3 visited tourist attraction in New York City, and giving tourists something to do once they get off the ferry was a no-brainer."

"With access to 8.3 million residents and 52 million tourists annually with $36.9 billion dollars a year in direct visitor spending, Empire Outlets will continue to transform the North Shore of Staten Island into a thriving and booming economic engine, echoing its impact throughout the borough."

Developers will break ground on the project around the end of 2013 or beginning of next year, and it's set to be completed by late 2016.

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