Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city officials broke ground yesterday on a $150 million project that will transform Staten Island’s former U.S. Homeport Naval Base (inoperative for over twenty years) into a 36-acre mixed-use waterfront community in the Stapleton neighborhood. The first phase of construction—led by Hoboken, New Jersey-based Ironstate Development—will feature LEED-certified residential and retail properties complete with 900 market-rate apartments, 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 600-parking spaces (did we mention there will be a Ferris Wheel as well?). Developers are hoping to attract young professionals to the area and enhance the quality of life for Staten Island residents with a planned series of walking paths, open lawns and landscaped green spaces as well as a new public boat launch for non-motorized boats.

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“Today’s groundbreaking is yet another sign of the redevelopment of Staten Island’s North Shore,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The New Stapleton Waterfront, complete with housing, retail, and a brand new waterfront esplanade, will create over a thousand jobs and help revitalize this neighborhood that has long been one of New York City’s best-kept secrets, with sweeping views of Lower Manhattan. Combined with a giant Ferris wheel, a brand new outlet mall, and new housing at the Lighthouse Point, Staten Island’s North Shore is poised to become New York City’s next great neighborhood.”

The city Economic Development Corporation is also committing $32 million towards the project for infrastructure improvements and road reconstruction. Buildings on the site will be elevated two feet higher than previously designed to reduce storm damage and prevent further shoreline erosion. Also included will be advanced storm water management systems, namely a  “Cove” wetlands area of 30,000 square feet (located between Canal and Water Streets) and 60,000 square feet of bio-swales to assist in removing pollution from water.

Development of the U.S. Naval Base has been a long and grueling process the past two decades. Officials are hopeful that the Stapleton community will be established as a major shopping and recreation destination for residents and visitors alike. The first phase of the new waterfront construction is set to be complete by 2015. The entire project will generate 1,000 construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs for the community.

+ NYC Gov

Images via NYC Mayor’s Office Flickr