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NYguy Aug 9, 2006 2:23 PM

NEW YORK | Governors Island redevelopment
Master Plan for the island...


Daily News

Fantasy Island
Nickelodeon makes bid to run Governors isle


Kids may one day get to frolic with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Jimmy Neutron on historic Governors Island - or take a ride on an iconic Ferris wheel modeled after the London Eye.

Cable network Nickelodeon is vying to turn a portion of the 172-acre isle into a themed-resort complex, where kids would get their own rooms and go to breakfast with their favorite cartoon characters.

Nickelodeon is one of 10 bidders granted an interview about redevelopment plans for Governors Island, a former military base the feds sold to the state for $1 in 2003.

"The 10 we interviewed, clearly they are the ones we are exclusively focused on at this point," Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, chairman of the city-state Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. (GIPEC), told the Daily News.

The 10 include developers with visions of building everything from a "CUNY University Village" or a recreation of Shakespeare's Globe Theater to an environmental research center with a 2-acre scale replica of New York Harbor.

Some of the plans for the prime East River site include proposals for parks, hotels, and even an amphitheater and aquarium.

The 10 developers on the short list were among 25 that submitted plans to GIPEC.

The other 15 bids - which include proposals for a 2015 Worlds Fair and an NYPD training campus - have not irrevocably been ruled out, Doctoroff said. But he made it clear the working list has been pared down.

Under terms of the selection process, GIPEC can cobble together a development team from combinations of the various proposals.

GIPEC sought plans from developers who wanted to redevelop the whole island, and those who only wanted to overhaul portions of the site or just specific buildings.

The corporation initially planned to announce its finalists by Sept. 13 and the winning developer or developers by the end of the year.

But GIPEC President Leslie Koch, who took over in May, said the date for selecting the finalists was being postponed. No new date has been set.

"That was a very aggressive timeline," she said of the September deadline.

Doctoroff said he was not concerned about the delay.

"We have a sense of urgency," he said. "On the other hand, any decision we make is going to last forever, so we want to make sure we make the right decision."

Before ownership of Governors Island was transferred during a Jan. 31, 2003, White House ceremony - after 203 years of federal ownership - the state agreed to a series of deed restrictions.

They required that of the 150 acres controlled by GIPEC, 40 acres remain parkland, 20 acres be used for education and 30 acres be used for public benefit. The island's other 22 acres are still administered by the National Park Service.

The restrictions also bar the construction of casinos, power plants and residential housing.

The 25 original applicants were discussed at a recent GIPEC board meeting.

Doctoroff told board members that officials had been "looking for extraordinary ideas" in its request for proposals.

He did not say if he felt that GIPEC had received any proposals of that caliber. "It's a little premature to reach any broad conclusions," Doctoroff said.

One civic leader had more to say. "The feedback I got is they didn't get the kind of proposal that would be a magic solution," said Al Butzel of the Governors Island Alliance.

Butzel said he was not surprised.

"I would have been pleased if they came in with two or three strong proposals and we saw the light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "But look, they got some proposals, and they'll try and negotiate a proposal that works."

The Proposals

Here's the short list of proposals being considered for Governors Island:

Nickelodeon Recreation/Miller Global Properties: Development of a Nickelodeon Family Suites themed resort complex. The company presently runs a similar operation in Orlando, near Disney World.

Federal Development LLC/City University of New York: Creation of a "CUNY University Village" and "Leadership Park" for 5,000-10,000 educators, students and staff with two hotels, research park, marina, theater library and a not-for-profit-run educational research center.

Industrial Realty Group: Master development plan includes a conference center, hotel, amphitheater and a Ferris wheel modeled after the London Eye.

New Globe Theater: Replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater inside an old fort on the island, Castle William.

Harbor 360 Partnership: Environmental research facility with a 2-acre scale replica of New York Harbor.

The Related Companies: Master development proposal for the creation of a Global Health Center on the north side of the island and a conference center hotel, aquarium, park, concert shell on the south side.

Metropolis USA: Design proposal for a green community of arts, education, culture, hospitality, retail and entertainment.

Becker + Becker: Proposal to redevelop two historic buildings, with a fitness facility on the top floor of one of them.

New York Harbor School: Proposal to move the Brooklyn Maritime High School to Governors Island.

Phoenix House: The substance abuse rehab agency would develop a "Phoenix Academy" for 170 teens.

Originally published on August 9, 2006

GFSNYC Aug 12, 2006 12:51 AM

What is wrong with Casinos there? A lot of people have some sort of moral superiority complex out there, they will never allow a vile thing like blackjack or Texas Hold 'em in New York. Gambling is the devil! I bet. Oh wait, its illegal.

Before you conjure images of Atlantic City, Reno, and Vegas... question, are those the only places in the world to gamble? How's about this, make Governer's Island the Monaco of the United States. No other place in the world could you have a gambling resort style island at the footsteps of the greatest city on earth. Dubai has yet to build that island. A place where James Bond would go, you've got plenty of old, rich high-brow New Yorkers that would appreciate it. Plenty of young hip people with money go blow it all in Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun. Why not have that revenue go to the city - education even?

Scruffy Aug 16, 2006 3:50 PM

Maybe its cause Im young and an adrenaline junkie but I would love an extreme theme park there with state of the art roller coasters. Its a great bet, there is no doubt that even at 60 bucks admittance (six flags current price for great adventure) they would have record crowds. To be only a small ferry ride away from the subway system. you cant beat the location

I would hate the way it would destroy the look of downtown Manhattan from the harbor.

Although going on a roller coaster and seeing downtown right next to you seems pretty cool. I wish they would just build this massive rollercoaster park on randalls island then

Scruffy Aug 16, 2006 3:53 PM

But a giant aquarium seems better suited here, than at Coney Island. I mean Atlanta size

Lecom Aug 16, 2006 5:33 PM

A theme park would rule if it were on Randall's Island, but not in the middle of the harbor. I'd like any decent proposal on the island aslong as it's intended for public use, and not some gated corporate bs.

I remember one of the hundreds of proposals for the island a few years ago included an enormous island-sized parking lot that would ferry cars to and from Manhattan...

phillyskyline Aug 17, 2006 1:25 AM

I like the Nickelodian idea would bring in major revnue, i can see all the rugrats pestering there parents to go to Governor's Island instead of Disney World!

LostInTheZone Aug 17, 2006 1:32 AM

I always thought an academic use would be best. It's already set up like a college campus.

Zerton Aug 18, 2006 1:52 AM

Federal Development LLC/City University of New York
Metropolis USA

^ best ideas.

Phoenix House

^ scariest idea.

CGII Aug 20, 2006 6:59 PM

The location is ridiculous for a theme park. Maybe not economically, but sweet Jesus New York would look like Las Vegas with giant ferris wheels and roller coasters on the footsteps.

If you ask me, Governor's Island should be something for New York, specifically, not some theme park you could drop in any city on Earth. Public access is necessary on all counts. Retail, tastefully sized residential and retail and education would all be great, much like Metropolis' idea. But, if you ask me, a 2015 World's Fair could really be amazing, and is by far my favourite idea for a project that would be creative, innovative, handsome, provide tourism, and be respectful to not only the aethestics of the city but the residents.

[Heh, I guess just anything that doesn't include Calatrava's clotheslined apples. ;) ]

TechTalkGuy Nov 13, 2006 4:04 AM

Why not build a new United Nations headquarters there?

If you ask me, that would be the best choice.

NYguy Nov 13, 2006 3:14 PM


Originally Posted by fish
Why not build a new United Nations headquarters there?
If you ask me, that would be the best choice.

I don't think so. New York just got that great piece of land back. I wouldn't want to turn it over to the UN. It needs to remain public.

NYguy Nov 14, 2006 4:05 AM

Here we go again...(amny)

Governors Island weighs new look

By Michael Clancy
November 14, 2006

The first tenant of the new Governors Island could be the New York Harbor School, a specialized public high school that teaches children about maritime issues and history, city officials announced Monday.

The school, currently landlocked in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, now holds the distinction of being the first institution invited to move to the 172-acre island since the city took control of the former military base in 2003 through a deal with the federal government.

"It's a really positive thing," said Robert Pirani, of the Governors Island Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit groups formed to ensure the island is used properly. "It sets the tone for the island as being a place for New York City, for being about education, for being about the harbor -- as opposed to being a casino, which has nothing to do with those things."

The move will need to be approved by the island's development agency and the Department of Education.

"We are just thrilled," said Murray Fisher, the harbor school's program director. "To be located in the middle of New York harbor, it's a dream come true."

Meanwhile, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., the state agency created to redevelop and operate the island, said Monday that it is going back to the drawing board to pick a development partner. The agency will not accept any proposals from 10 finalists -- from a Nickelodeon theme park to a CUNY campus -- selected after the agency requested proposals in February.

Instead, the agency wants design firms to come up with a plan to develop 25 to 40 acres of parkland on the southwest portion of the island, and a 2.2-mile waterfront promenade encircling the island, said Leslie Koch, the president of the Governors Island corporation.

"The next and most important step is the creation of the new park and the promenade on the island," Koch said. "We expect over time for it to become home to a diverse array of commercial and not-for-profit enterprises."

As many as five of the park proposals will be chosen and put on exhibit by next summer before a final plan is chosen.

The agency is also studying the feasibility of connecting the island with lower Manhattan and Brooklyn through aerial gondolas.

Great Promenade rendering. Courtesy Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation.

Summer Park rendering.

NYguy Nov 28, 2006 5:30 PM

Nice view of the island...

CGII Dec 3, 2006 5:46 PM

Is it public access to Governor's Island availible now?

NYguy Jan 18, 2007 12:59 PM

NY Post


January 18, 2007

Five prominent landscape-architect teams are vying to design up to 87 acres of park space on Governors Island, with incredible views of the harbor and Statue of Liberty.

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. yesterday narrowed the list from dozens of entries. Following public forums and presentations, it will select a designer this summer.

The finalists include New York-based Field Operations, which is partnering with British-based Eyre Architects. Field's projects include Lake Ontario Park in Toronto.

The others selected were New York's Ramus Ella Architects; New York-based Ramus Ella Architects/Paris-based Michele Desvigne Paysagistes; Hargreaves Associates; and a team including Dutch firm West 8.

NYguy Jan 18, 2007 1:00 PM


Originally Posted by CGII (Post 2488166)
Is it public access to Governor's Island availible now?

The public ferries usually only go there during the summer, but it's open to the public.

GFSNYC Jan 19, 2007 2:58 AM

I read in this month's Surface Magazine that someone proposed a World's Fair with a reinterpreted Trylon, Perisphere and Helicline... with a tower some 1800ft and barges representing each participating country. A bold and ambitious plan, the world's fair has left its share of significant architecture - the Seattle space needle, and of course the Eiffel Tower. Doubt it'll happen, but it would have my vote any day.

NYguy Jan 19, 2007 1:33 PM

New York Magazine


Give Me Your Kite Fliers, Your Pork Roast, Your Pot-Smoking Teenagers Yearning to See Bloc Party

We still like Calatrava's proposed gondola.

Governors Island is a unique spot: It's 172 acres in the middle of New York harbor featuring a shoreline facing Lady Liberty, landmarked forts, and small hills perfect for sled runs. And as the city and state plan to convert the new-abandoned military base into a public park, you'd like to think the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation could come up with an equally unique plan. You'd be disappointed.

Last night Leslie Koch, who heads the city-state entity, announced five finalists for a landscape-design competition.

The group includes Field Operations, which is overhauling Fresh Kills; Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Field Operations’ partner on the High Line redevelopment; and Weiss Manfredi, currently beloved for a riverside park in Seattle — which suggests we're heading toward a Governors Island scheme that is perfectly competent but unlikely to be original.

What uses should these designers have in mind? Koch proposes multiday music festivals, kite-flying, and cookouts. “Grilling," she notes, "is illegal in most city parks." Fair enough. But can't we come up with some more thrilling plans? Here's the best hope: The gossamer gondola that Santiago Calatrava sketched for the mayor’s office last summer remains under consideration. Public comment begins this summer.

—Alec Appelbaum

Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation

NYguy Mar 27, 2007 11:53 AM

NY Sun

Governors Island Could Play Host to an Auto Race

March 27, 2007

A car-racing league is considering a slot on its circuit for Governors Island, the 172-acre former military base that the city and state are intending to develop.

A spokesman for the Indy Racing League, John Griffin, said the company hopes to add New York City to its racing league within a few years.

" Governors Island certainly is something that has come up, but in terms of definitive plans, we still have a long way to go," Mr. Griffin said. "We've had some discussions with people in the greater New York City area," including the agency overseeing the island's development. "No single idea has been approved or shot down," he added.

The Indy Racing League, which holds a 17-race circuit that includes the Indianapolis 500, three years ago began including courses that utilize city roads, as opposed to solely racing on oval tracks, Mr. Griffin said.

Representatives from the agency overseeing the project, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.

The inquiries by the Indy Racing League were reported Sunday in the St. Petersburg Times.

The Gipec president, Leslie Koch, told the city Planning Commission yesterday that the task of creating a mixed-use development on Governors Island would be broken down into numerous pieces. Previously, the agency had asked single developers to submit bids to tackle the giant project themselves. However, the final submissions, which ranged from a Nickelodeon-themed amusement park to a giant CUNY campus, were considered disappointing and were rejected last fall.

Ms. Koch stressed that creating a world-class park for much of the island was at the top of her agenda, but no date has been set for new proposals.

"Our focus right now is on building the park," she said.

The push to give Governors Island a makeover has puttered along since 2003, when the space was acquired from the federal government with a provision that barred residential development. Earlier this year, Gipec announced a competition among five finalists to design the parkland section of the island, with the winner expected to be chosen in the summer.

NYguy Apr 18, 2007 11:40 AM

NY Post


April 18, 2007

A pitch to build a $125 million overhead gondola system connecting Governors Island to Manhattan and Brooklyn is no pie-in-the-sky dream, officials said yesterday.

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said the city's Economic Development Corp. is still keeping the idea
of a futuristic-looking span designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava on the table.

"So far, there are some challenges, but no show stoppers," Doctoroff said during a meeting of the city-state Governors Island Education and Preservation Corp., which he chairs.

The gondola proposal, first reported by The Post in January 2006, would connect the historic island to Pier 6 off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and the Battery Marine Terminal in lower Manhattan.

Currently, the only way to Governors Island is by ferry, but a floating barge on the island's north end is being built that will allow private water taxis to dock there by this summer.

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