Approval Imminent for Staten Islands Giant Ferris Wheel and Mall

Staten Island's Empire Outlets

Staten Island councilwoman Debi Rose had one major misgiving about the megaproject planned for St. George?you know, just that li’l 625-foot-tall Ferris wheel and 125-store outlet mall developers have been hell-bent on building near the ferry pier. She has wanted to make sure unionized and local labor is used in the construction of the Empire Outlets part, even if it’s more expensive. Now both Crain’s and pro-union Build Up NYC are reporting that, after some last-minute, back-room negotiations, mall developer BFC Partners has caved agreed to use only unionized labor for the project. (The wheel, dubbed the New York Wheel, was already slated to use unionized labor, but the two are inextricably tied together in the land use application.) With that hurdle cleared, and Rose expected to green-light the whole shebang, the City Council is expected to follow her lead and approve the quite literally transformative development in a vote later today. UPDATE: The Council approved the project by a vote of 45-0. It’s a go.

The SHoP-designed megamall will amount to 340,000 square feet of retail in a multi-tiered complex where it appears that green roofs abound. The likes of Coach, Restoration Hardware, Michael Kors, Nordstrom Rack, and Brooks Brothers have allegedly expressed interested in opening stores. There will also be restaurants and a 200-room hotel. The project is estimated to cost between $250 and $275 million, and if all goes as planned, it will be complete in 2016.