The New York Times posits a scenario in which Staten Island's gritty North Shore undergoes a metamorphosis, transforming it from a dilapidated waterfront shitshow into a Brooklyn Bridge Park-like area. And it's actually looking likely, considering that New Jersey based developer Ironstate is investing $150 million to create a 900 unit low-rise residential project with 30,000 square feet of retail on a 7 acre site in an area called Homeport. That's certainly ambitious, and even Bloomberg is helping them out with the city giving $32 million to help out with the infrastructure and for a 6 acre park. But can one massive project save a borough that's hemorrhaging a young, creative class in exchange for a rising elderly population?
Gentrification success stories are typically built from the bottom up. For example, the creative community in Williamsburg (many of whom got priced out) lured in the increasingly affluent population that wouldn't have even considered the area before. They gave the neighborhood an identity that even massive developments like the Edge are still co-opting. The North Shore can't have the same said for it. And let's not forget about the public transportation issues. So, can one big project let the Staten Island Waterfront play with the big kids? We'll see, but here's hoping.
· Economic Revival, With the Fancy Cheese? [NYT]