The Real Deal New York

State switches funding source for BFC Partners’ Empire Outlets

Money for the Staten Island project will not come from a Dean Skelos-created fund
April 22, 2016 09:38AM

Rendering of Empire Outlets in Staten Island (inset: Andrew Cuomo)

Rendering of Empire Outlets in Staten Island (inset: Andrew Cuomo)

The Empire State Development Corp. on Thursday shifted funding sources for the $21.9 million it approved in January for BFC Partners’ Empire Outlets retail development on Staten Island.

The quiet changing of sources comes as Dean Skelos, the former state Senate majority leader, and Sheldon Silver, the former assembly speaker, face sentencing for convictions on corruption charges.

Of the $21.9 million, $16.5 million will not come from Transformative Investment Program, which Skelos created, but rather from the New York Works Economic Development Fund, Politico reported. Cuomo created New York Works in 2012 and money was allocated during the state’s 2015-2016 budget, according to Politico.

The switch was not discussed at the EDC’s meeting and spokesperson did not explain the change, but told Politico the project qualified for funding under both programs.

The Cuomo administration has steered nearly $47 million in state subsidies to the project, which state officials say is expected create more than 1,300 permanent jobs. Next to the St. George Ferry Terminal, Empire Outlets will include restaurants, shops, parking and a hotel, Politico reported. The development is one of several, alongside the New York Wheel and Triangle Equities’ Lighthouse Point, that look to transform the borough’s North Shore.

BFC Partners contributed $85,000 to the governor’s reelection campaign.

The project also received $25.3 million from New York City agencies and $1.5 million from the office of the Staten Island borough president. [Politico]Dusica Sue Malesevic