The Real Deal New York

Commercial tenants steering clear of Governors Island

Ferry service, historic building restrictions seen as stumbling blocks

August 20, 2014 10:10AM

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From left: Governor's Island ferry terminal and historic houses

From left: Governors Island ferry terminal and historic houses

Governors Island is a nice place to visit, but it turns out tenants wouldn’t want to set up shop there.Tourism on the 172-acre island has shot up 15 percent from a year ago to 400,000 visitors. But limited ferry service and infrastructure, as well as building restrictions, make the location a tough sell to permanent tenants, the Wall Street Journal reported.

All told, the city has spent nearly $335 million in capital improvements on the island, but no plans have come forth for a 33-acre site reserved for a convention center or hotel, according to the newspaper. The City University of New York considered leasing historic buildings but determined renovation costs were too high, and New York University decided a proposed campus would feel isolated, the Journal reported.

A nonprofit and a marine science high school are currently the island’s only permanent tenants, but nonprofit Spaceworks will set up artist studios there and Italian spa chain QC Terme plans to open a location. [WSJ]Tom DiChristopher

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