NY1 Exclusive: A Closer Look At Plans To Revitalize SI Waterfront
NY1 has exclusive new details on an ambitious plan to revitalize the Staten Island waterfront and build the world's largest observation wheel. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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It will still break records as one of the world's largest attractions, taking riders as high as 60 feet in the sky. But now, the man building the New York Wheel says the project will be smarter in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and will make better use of the waterfront it will be built on.
"The reason it's changed so much is that we have worked very closely with all of the city agencies, and, quite frankly, they've added tremendously to creating a better design for us," said Richard Marin of New York Wheel. "We're actually thrilled with the way the process has worked."
Marin shared new plans for the first time with NY1, revealing a playground, walking paths and a new terminal building, to be built between the September 11th memorial and the wheel itself.
The project is scheduled for completion in two years.
"This beautiful plaza in the front with a water feature, that has a cafe behind it, that will activate the waterfront," Marin said. "And then, this magnificent glass terminal building, which is where people will go into to enjoy the wheel, to enjoy our sustainability expo, to enjoy our 4-D theater," Marin said.
The theater will offer visitors a virtual tour of New York with a simulated flyover of the harbor.
To answer concerns about flooding grown from Hurricane Sandy, a utility tower will be built that's 30 feet above sea level.
"It concentrates all of our electrical and mechanical functions in a space that accomplishes a few things," Marin said. "One, it lifts it all up, well above the flood plain, to a plus 30-type level. Secondly it concentrates it for maintenance and all those type purposes so everything can be managed very, very easily.
Site plans also include the city's first outlet mall. Developers there are currently working to negotiate with tenants to rent space in the mall, once coined Harbor Commons, and now, NY1 has learned, called Empire Outlets.
Marin said he expects the timeline for the project to remain unchanged. He said that construction will begin next year.