City Council Subcommittee Considering Three Building Complex on Edgewater Street

Rendering of the development designed by Caliendo Architects. Image credit: V Capital Management

Zoning Subcommittee heard testimony on proposed 371-unit complex on Staten Island. On May 30, 2017, the City Council’s Zoning Subcommittee heard testimony regarding an application submitted by Pier 21 Development, LLC, to construct a mixed-use development with 371 residential units in three buildings in Staten Islands’ Rosebank neighborhood. The applicant sought to rezone the development site from manufacturing to residential with a commercial overlay and to expand the Special Stapleton Waterfront District to cover the development.

The project area is bounded by Front Street, Edgewater Street, and the New York Harbor. Within that area is an occupied by a seven-story office building and surface parking. Tenants of the office building include the NYPD, the Richmond County Board of Elections, and Staten Island Community Board 1. The development site currently contains two buildings that are primarily used for storage.

The entire project area is zoned for manufacturing, as an M2-1 zoning district. The applicant sought to expand the Special Stapleton Waterfront District to cover the project area, and to rezone the development site to an R6 zoning district with a C2-2 commercial overlay along Edgewater Street. An M2-1 zoning district allows for 2.0 FAR for manufacturing purposes and most commercial uses. Rezoning to an R6 zoning district would allow for a maximum of 2.42 FAR for residential use and 4.8 FAR for community facility uses. The proposed C2-2 overlay would also allow for 2.0 FAR of community and retail uses.

The proposed rezoning would facilitate the construction of two new buildings and the enlargement of a third existing building. One of the new buildings would be 13 stories tall with 12,650 square feet of commercial retail and 144,480 square feet of residential floor space. The other new building would be 12 stories tall with 5,073 square feet for a gym and 175,169 square feet of residential use. The two-story existing building to be enlarged would end up being a six story mixed-use building totaling 30,810 square feet, including 6,450 square feet of commercial and retail uses.

The applicant also requested that the development be designated as a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area. The proposed project would create about 371 dwelling units, 25 to 30 percent of which would be permanently affordable. The developer has committed to providing units in the forty percent area median income band.

On February 15, 2017, Staten Island Community Board 1 voted 23-11 to recommend approval of the application with modifications. The Community Board requested that the building height be restricted to eight stories, that one parking space be required for each residential unit developed, that efforts be made to use union construction workers, and that the entire esplanade be completed with the construction of Phase 1. On February 21, 2017, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo recommended approval of the application.

At the May 30th hearing, the local representative, Council Member Deborah Rose called the growing business investments “an exciting time on Staten Island’s north shore waterfront.” Council Member Rose emphasized her continued support for projects that are environmentally safe, responsible and affordable.

Caroline Harris, of Goldman Harris LLC, spoke on behalf of Pier 21 Development. Harris did note that if approved, the project would be the first Mandatory Inclusionary Housing development on Staten Island. She presented the project to the subcommittee and explained the requested zoning changes, extension of the special district and the public access to the waterfront that would be provided on private property. To address community concern, Harris noted that the developer is committed to addressing parking concerns and providing local hiring and union jobs.

A representative from Service Employees International Union, Local 32B called upon the subcommittee to disapprove the project until the developer committed to union employment. The representative did state that the union was currently in discussions with the developer regarding a contract.

The matter was laid over consideration by the subcommittee.

CC: 125 Edgewater Street Development, Staten Island (LU 0654-2017; 0655-2017) (May 30, 2017).

 By: Jonathon Sizemore (Jonathon is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2016).

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