New York Wheel and Empire Outlets Secure Final Approval from New York City Council

Giant Observation Wheel and NYC’s First Outlet Mall Set to Break Ground in 2014

The New York City Council today officially approved plans for the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets. The City Council’s vote marks the final step in the public approvals process around the mall and 630-foot-tall Wheel, which promises to become an instant tourist attraction and iconic fixture on the New York Harbor and the City’s skyline.

“Today’s final approval marks a major milestone for Staten Island and New York City,” said Rich Marin, CEO of New York Wheel LLC. “We’re confident that the New York Wheel will take its place alongside other Big Apple landmark attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. This ambitious undertaking will create enormous economic opportunities for Staten Island and the City in terms of job creation, increased tourism, and small business growth. We’re grateful for the extraordinary support we’ve received from Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Molinaro, Speaker Quinn and Council Member Rose and look forward to continuing this strong working relationship with the new administration as we head towards our 2014 groundbreaking.”

“We want to thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Borough President Molinaro, Councilwoman Deborah Rose, Community Board 1, and James Prendamano and John Pietera of Casandra Properties for helping to make this unique waterfront development a reality,” said Donald Capoccia, Principal of BFC Partners. “We are looking forward to building a project that will be a catalyst for the redevelopment of the North Shore, creating thousands of jobs for local residents and transforming Staten Island into a world-class destination for residents and tourists alike.”

The New York Wheel will offer New Yorkers and visitors from around the world unrivaled views of the Lower and Midtown Manhattan skylines, the Statue of Liberty, the Verrazano Bridge and all of New York Harbor during the ride’s 38-minute revolution. Featuring thirty-six capsules, each carrying up to 40 passengers, the completed attraction will rival the London Eye, the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Harbor Opera House as an iconic world attraction.

The $260 million Empire Outlets project, being built adjacent to the St. George Ferry Terminal, will transform an underutilized municipal parking lot into a one-million-square-foot mixed-use retail hub that will bring new found vibrancy and provide a tremendous boost to the local economy of Staten Island. The development, designed by SHoP Architects, will include 340,000 square feet of prime retail space with up to 125 designer outlet retailers; a 200-room hotel; and a 40,000-square-foot food and beverage deck that will provide extraordinary views of the Manhattan skyline. In addition, BFC Partners will also build a 1,250-space structured parking garage below the retail and hotel components to accommodate commuters and tourists alike.

“Together, the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets are a transformative project for Staten Island, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment and thousands of jobs while creating a new iconic attraction for New Yorkers and visitors alike,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “Millions of visitors ride the Staten Island Ferry each year, and Mayor Bloomberg has made it an Administration priority to attract them beyond the ferry terminal to explore and support the North Shore’s vibrant commercial and cultural landscape. Thanks to the leadership of Council member Debi Rose, Speaker Quinn and local partners, Staten Island will soon welcome a project that will benefit the borough for generations.”

“Today marks a major milestone in the City’s comprehensive strategy to spur economic activity in Staten Island and activate the waterfront across the five boroughs,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball. “The New York Wheel and Empire Outlets will draw millions of visitors annually, cementing the North Shore as a major destination and providing critical support to borough businesses. Together with the borough’s first small business incubator, and developments underway at Charleston, Homeport, and the St. George Coast Guard Station, this project ensures that Staten Island is poised to enter a new era of economic growth.”

The New York Wheel is scheduled to begin construction in 2014 with a grand opening scheduled for 2016. Construction for the Empire Outlets is expected to begin in the winter of 2014 and be completed in 2016.

About the New York Wheel
The New York Wheel, located on the North Shore of Staten Island, will be the tallest observation wheel in the world and the only attraction of its kind in New York City. The 630- foot (roughly 60-story) Wheel will feature thirty-six capsules, each carrying up to 40 passengers, that will offer incomparable views of Lower and Midtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, and beyond both the Verrazano and the George Washington Bridges, for the duration of each 38-minute revolution. The attraction will accommodate as many as 1,440 people per trip, and will welcome as many as 30,000 visitors each day and an anticipated 4 million visitors per year.

The New York Wheel project was originally proposed in response to the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) released in 2011 for projects that would increase economic growth, boost tourism, and create jobs on Staten Island. Meir Laufer is the founder of New York Wheel. The New York Wheel has been designed by a team from Starneth B.V., Perkins Eastman Architects and M. Paul Friedberg & Partners. It is expected to begin construction in 2014 with a grand opening scheduled for 2016. For more information about the New York Wheel, please visit: www.NewYorkWheel.com.
About Empire Outlets

BFC Partners’ Empire Outlets will be an approximately 340,000 square foot retail complex, comprised of up to 125 designer outlet retailers and a variety of restaurants and cafes. Plans also include a 200-room, 130,000-square-foot hotel, and a 20,000-square-foot banquet facility that will provide extraordinary views of the Manhattan skyline. BFC Partners will also build a 1,250-space structured parking garage below the retail and hotel components to accommodate commuters and tourists alike. Construction is expected to begin in the winter of 2014 and be completed in 2016. Designed by SHoP Architects, Empire Outlets will feature expansive open corridors to the water, contemporary materials reflective of the industrial waterfront, and a sweeping sustainable green roof visible from the harbor. Celebratory vertical circulation elements such as grand staircases, elevators, and streamlined escalators will guide shoppers as they move from the waterfront up to Richmond Terrace, creating a dynamic and easily navigated pedestrian experience.

For more information about Empire Outlets, please visit: www.empireoutletsnyc.com and www.BFCNYC.com.
Media Contacts
For New York Wheel LLC:
Ed Adler, ed.adler@rlmfinsbury.com, 646.805.2006
Kyle Giunta, kyle.giunta@rlmfinsbury.com, 646.805.2058

For BFC Partners:
Barbara Wagner, bwagner@rubenstein.com, 212.843.8035 Jacqueline Hlavenka, jhavenka@rubenstein.com, 212.843.8339

NYCEDC:
Patrick Muncie or Kate Blumm, 212.312.3523