Downtown Revitalization Initiative Advances Projects to Transform Staten Island's North Shore into a World-Class Tourism Destination
Projects in Staten Island are Part of the Former Governor's Strategic Goal to Enrich the Community with Key Catalytic Projects
Former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced eight transformational projects that will create and connect civic, commercial, and cultural assets throughout downtown Staten Island to revitalize the North Shore economy. Funded as part of Staten Island's $10 million award through the Former Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, this funding will connect the central Bay Street Corridor running from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and the historic St. George neighborhood to the rapidly developing Stapleton area.
"In rebuilding New York State's economy back stronger than it was before, we must think big and embrace bold visions for the future," Former Governor Cuomo said. "These projects in Staten Island, along with many others supported through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, are helping to re-energize our communities and bolster the commercial corridors that are such critical components of our future economic success."
"As we build back New York's economy, our Downtown Revitalization Initiative capitalizes on the economic renaissance already taking place on Staten Island," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "With this targeted investment, Staten Island will be able to build on that momentum, create even more economic opportunity, and continue transforming the North Shore community."
Staten Island - New York City Region
Staten Island was named Round 4 winner in November 2019. Downtown Staten Island includes St. George, the historic central business district and government hub for Staten Island, and the adjacent neighborhoods of Tompkinsville and Stapleton. Downtown Staten Island forms the centerpiece of the development effort on the North Shore. The Downtown's backbone is the Bay Street Corridor, which runs approximately 1.3 miles between the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to the southeast. Through these investments in small business revitalization, workforce development, arts and culture, wayfinding and upgrading commercial and non-profit anchors, Downtown Staten Island will engage in smart development to capitalize on the existing momentum and fully realize its vision to become a vibrant and thriving worldclass tourist, retail and dining destination.
Projects funded through the initiative will:
Create the College of Staten Island Center for Innovation VR/AR Lab - $2,314,000: Fund equipment to create a Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Lab in the new College of Staten Island Center for Innovation at Lighthouse Point. This investment will help establish downtown Staten Island as a regional hub for technology and innovation.
Beautify and Expand the Minthorne Street Commercial Center - $1,250,000: Modernize the façade of the prominent office and retail building at the corner of Victory Boulevard and Bay Street and create a new ground-floor café space. The project will replace the existing glass-and-metal façade with a more attractive brick face to beautify the Tompkinsville town center.
Upgrade Seamen's Society Headquarters to Enhance Service Delivery - $1,155,000: Fund upgrades to the Seamen's Society headquarters building at 50 Bay Street to better serve families and children and to convert underused spaces into a free community meeting area. This project will expand Seaman's reach into the Staten Island community.
Restore the Historic St. George Theatre - $1,058,000: Fund improvements to the St. George Theatre, including a restoration of the lobby, repair of interior plaster and paint work, and the installation of a new mosaic at the outdoor entrance. This project will restore this downtown landmark and improve the visitor experience.
Create a Small Business Recovery Fund - $1,000,000: The Small Business Recovery Fund will help existing businesses recover and support new businesses that locate downtown. The fund will be designed to provide grants to property owners or their commercial tenants. The fund will be used for a wide variety of eligible costs to support the recovery and growth of downtown and to create a safer, more welcoming, and more stable environment.
Create a Community Event and Entertainment Space at Empire Outlets - $1,950,000: The flexible event and performance space within the Empire Outlets will be used by local nonprofits and cultural groups. The space will be located within the new dining and entertainment section of the center.
Improve Wayfinding and Branding throughout Downtown - $600,000: Enhance the pedestrian and visitor experience by installing color-coded markers to support navigation around key nodes in downtown. The signs will highlight cultural sites, eateries, shops, and other destinations and provide a consistent look and feel from St. George to Stapleton.
Create a North Shore Art Trail - $373,000: Create a public art trail from St. George to Stapleton by installing more than 30 pieces of unique, community-sourced public art at strategic locations throughout downtown, including at key intersections and cultural sites.
Staten Island developed a strategic investment plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million grant. A local planning committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners.
The strategic investment plan for Staten Island examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. These projects are the latest example of Former Governor Cuomo's ongoing commitment to Staten Island and New York City.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a hands-on approach to bring investments to communities facing challenges in the post COVID-19 world. These projects are part of a smart economic development program that will partner with the private sector to develop Staten Island's North Shore into a world class destination for residents and visitors to foster a new outlook to capitalize in the rapid growth of this historic area."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Eric Gertler said, "By investing in the cultural, social and historical assets that are prevalent in the downtown Staten Island neighborhoods of St. George and its adjacent neighborhoods of Tompkinsville and Stapleton, as well as continued investment in the commercial assets of the Bay Street Corridor, we are truly creating a vibrant shopping, dining and cultural destination that will attract more residents and visitors to the heart of Staten Island."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, "The eight awarded Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects should make it clear to everyone that Staten Island is experiencing a resurgence. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's innovative approach to economic development, the state's strategic investment will transform the North Shore into a must-visit destination for dining, shopping and leisure and make this diverse community an even better place to live."
Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Chancellor, City University of New York and New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair said, "Cutting-edge tech will have a new home and hub on Staten Island with the creation of the new Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality Lab. As part of the College of Staten Island's Center for Innovation at Lighthouse Point, the lab will help to nurture and build new discoveries and breakthroughs that will fuel our regional economy and recovery."
Winston Fisher, Partner of Fisher Brothers and New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair, said, "The Bay Street Corridor is the economic and cultural nerve center of Staten Island's North Shore, and these projects will inject new life by supporting small business recovery and creating community meeting and gathering spaces. Beautifying streetscapes, creating an art trail and restoring the historic St. George Theatre will all add to the area's appeal to visitors and residents, and encourage growth and renewal."
Senator Diane Savino said, "I'm thrilled to see the start of these projects. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has long been a goal for this administration and our partners, and what better way for our economy to reopen than to continue the beautification of the North Shore."
Assemblymember Charles D. Fall said, "I commend Governor Cuomo for bringing this much needed downtown revitalization funding to fruition. These projects will certainly assist in the recovery and future successes to the communities of the North Shore of Staten Island."
Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said, "We are excited for these enhancements to Staten Island's North Shore as a way to revitalize an area that has so much potential for economic growth. By integrating these assets along the Bay Street Corridor and surrounding areas, we can create an atmosphere that further supports small businesses, job growth and the arts and culture sector. We are especially proud to have the Small Business Recovery Fund as part of this project, which is sorely needed right now to help small businesses through the post-COVID recovery. I'd also like to thank our partners at the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation and the whole committee for their efforts in getting this accomplished."
Councilwoman Debi Rose said, "Government leadership is at its best when it recognizes the value in coordinating new investment with existing investment. The Bay Street Corridor re-zoning brought a bounty of opportunities and amenities that include affordable housing into the future and a continued expansion of waterfront access for our residents. The eight exceptional awardees of Downtown Revitalization Initiative's allocations announced by Gov. Cuomo today dovetail beautifully with the goals of the BSC rezoning. I look forward to the continued opportunities that each will bring."
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
In 2016, Former Governor Cuomo launched a major new initiative — the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Through this initiative, the Former Governor moved to aggressively accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhood to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment in all ten regions of the state. The initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.
In four years, the state has committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. Participating communities are nominated by the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown's potential for transformation, and each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization.
The initiative is headed by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and state Homes and Community Renewal.