Staten Island is better known for its single-family homes and driveways than multifamily dwellings, but pretty soon, a new apartment tower will rise. This fall, Lighthouse Point on the North Shore, a stone’s throw away from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, will break ground. The project is one of three planned for St. George, and coordinated by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, along with the Empire Outlets mall and the New York Wheel.
The centerpiece of the $200 million Lighthouse Point will be a 12-story tower with 100 apartments, 20 of which will be let at below-market rates. It will also include 85,000 square feet of retail and a hotel with more than 160 rooms, among other things.
For a century starting in 1863, the land was home to the U.S. Lighthouse Service Depot, with the EDC describing the site as “the center of lighthouse operations for the United States.” It then fell into disuse until being transferred to the city in 1984. The EDC finally chose a developer in 2006, and also plans for an adjacent historic building to house the National Lighthouse Museum.
The Lighthouse Point project will be developed by Triangle Equities, which describes itself in a press release as “specializ[ing] in city projects, earning an excellent reputation for working together with government agencies and skillfully navigating the most demanding public approval processes.” Their other New York City projects include malls in Flatbush and College Point, plus a number of suburban-style office complexes housing government agencies, sprinkled throughout the outer outer boroughs and beyond.
Looking at the bigger picture, the EDC’s three projects should just be the start for St. George. If Staten Island is to ever become a truly urban and integral part of the city, the Department of City Planning will have to zone for denser development across the North Shore (and beyond), and not limit construction activity to sites requiring top-down planning.
Despite the shortcomings of new development in St. George, Lighthouse Point will be a welcome infusion of bodies and economic activity for Staten Island’s North Shore, while also adding a relatively tall (and attractive) building to New York City’s most suburban borough.
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