While many Staten Islanders have been more than a little skeptical about announcements regarding construction at the Stapleton Homeport, the developer behind the project says plans to turn the area into a year-round destination is not far off. NY1’s Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
It’s hard to imagine now, but the quaint beachfront area in Long Branch, New Jersey wasn’t always so. Back in 1987, a fire on the pier left the town in complete disrepair, keeping tourists and locals from the shore and the surrounding area. All that changed five years ago, when a redevelopment plan — headed by Ironstate Development transformed the space into what is now known as Pier Village.
“There was a history of people kind of presenting things that didn’t get done after that,” said David Barry of Ironstate Development .
It’s a story that’s not unlike what happened for years at the Staten Island Homeport. Plan after plan of the sprawling 36 acre waterfront property has fallen by the wayside since the Navy set sail in the mid 1990s. But officials insist the latest proposal — a partnership between Ironstate and the city’s economic development corporation — will prevail where the others failed.
Rental apartments, tons of retail space and waterfront access are what Barry says made Pier Village a success. He says that model served as inspiration for plans for the Homeport.
“They’re both waterfront sites, so I think that’s a similarity. I also think they’re both sites that need a creative approach,” said Barry. “They need somebody with credibility and creativity to make these things, to reach their true potential.”
Of course, the two sites do have some obvious differences. To start, Pier Village is much more seasonally popular, attracting lots of beach goers when the weather gets nice. As a result, some tenants have been geared toward those busy summer months: Something that won’t happen at the Homeport.
“People like the warm weather, but Staten Island is a place with a lot of population that needs things to do 12 months a year. I don’t see a seasonal aspect to that. I see it as something that’s going to work all year round, and that’s how we’re approaching it,” Barry said.
Barry says his firm will work to attract a mix of mom and pop shops and national chains, which can draw customers all year long.
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