NEW YORK CITY-The redevelopment of Staten Island’s North Shorecleared a major hurdle on Friday morning as Hoboken, NJ-baseddeveloper Ironstate Development closed on the saleof the Homeport site in Stapleton. The deal will pave the way for900 units of new rental housing and 30,000 square feet of retailsituated on the former US Naval Base here. Ironstate will invest$150 million into the project, while the city will chip in $33million for road improvements, a new waterfront esplanade andupgrades to the Staten Island Railway station adjacent to theproperty.

Set against the backdrop of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, localofficials gathered at the seven-acre site to commemorate thebeginning of the transformation of the neighborhood, a largelyindustrial area with a re-emerging downtown along the Upper NewYork Bay. After the construction of the bridge in the 1960s, muchof the borough's commercial development moved to the center of theIsland, leaving its northern retail corridors with high vacancies.“At one time, the Stapleton and Port Richmond communities were theshopping centers of Staten Island,” said Borough PresidentJames P. Molinaro. “If you wanted to go shopping,there was no mall at the time; you went to Stapleton or PortRichmond, and we are going to bring it back, step by step. This isgoing to be the start of the renaissance of Stapleton, St. Georgeand the whole North Shore.”

The project marks the largest development of market-rate rentalhousing on Staten Island in the last 40 years, but it did not comewithout complications, Molinaro said. In the early 1990s, theentire 35-acre Homeport property was retained by the city. Afterthe base closed several years later, the borough consideredredeveloping the underutilized site into a sports complex or amovie studio, but none of those plans stuck, Molinaroexplained.

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