Empire Outlets and NY Wheel Get City Council Approval


The New York City Council approved plans yesterday for the 630-foot New York Wheel and Empire Outlets mall after an undisclosed agreement hashed out by the developer of the mall and the Building and Construction Trades Council earlier this week.

(Rendering: SHoP Architects)
(Rendering: SHoP Architects)

BFC Partners is developing the $260 million Empire Outlets, a one-million-square-foot, mixed-use retail hub designed by SHoP Architects, adjacent to the St. George Ferry Terminal and next to what will become one of the world’s tallest ferris wheels.

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“We are looking forward to building a project that will be a catalyst for the redevelopment of the North Shore,” said Donald Capoccia, principal of BFC Partners, in a statement.

The news comes after the developer worked out an agreement with Building and Construction Trades Council earlier this week in which sources said the developer agreed to use all union labor in the development of the mall and staff the hotel component with union jobs.

“This effort demonstrates that we can pursue responsible development where business wins, working people win and residents of local communities win,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council and of Build Up NYC, which also represents 32BJ SEIU and the New York Hotel Trades Council.

The outlet mall will include 340,000 square feet of retail space with up to 125 designer outlet retailers, a 200-room hotel, a 40,000-square-foot “food and beverage deck” with Manhattan skyline views and a 1,250-space parking garage below the retail and hotel components, the developer said in an announcement.

The New York Wheel, will feature thirty-six capsules carrying up to 40 passengers, boasting views of Lower and Midtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the Verrazano Bridge and New York Harbor during its 38-minute revolution.

“[The] final approval marks a major milestone for Staten Island and New York City,” said Rich Marin, CEO of New York Wheel LLC, in a statement. “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.

Construction on both the mall and the Wheel will begin in 2014, with completion scheduled for 2016. The Wheel is set to open in 2016, while developers have not announced a date for the mall’s opening.

BFC Partners declined to comment on further details of the new agreement and whether or not it would involve any new incentives.