Governors Island redevelopment opposed as excessive

Plans call for research center; rezoning would allow offices, hotels

New York /
Jan.January 20, 2021 10:30 AM
Clare Newman with Governors Island (Credit: Governors Island, Getty Images)

Clare Newman with Governors Island (Credit: Governors Island, Getty Images)

Opposition is cropping up to the proposed rezoning of Governors Island.

The 172-acre island in New York Harbor has already been repurposed from a military base into a summertime recreational hub. Next up in redevelopment plans is to place a climate research center on the mostly green southern part of the island, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The plan is part of a rezoning proposal that would allow for hotels, offices and other buildings.

However, critics fear that plans for the research center are shaky and that new development would devastate green space, although the areas to be developed are currently fenced off and dotted with old military buildings, according to the trust that runs Governors Island. Manhattan Community Board 1 cast an advisory opinion last month against the rezoning after dozens of people called the scale of the proposed development too large.

The entity that operates the island disagrees.

“Having a bold vision like this is what we believe will unlock the potential of the island,” Clare Newman, president and chief executive of the Trust for Governors Island, told the newspaper.

The idea is to make the island a self-supporting, year-round destination. Currently it is only open from May to October, and 75 percent of its $20 million budget comes from the city. The trust estimates the center would create 8,000 jobs.

Rezonings are essentially decided by the local City Council member, which in the case of Governors Island is Margaret Chin. The island’s deed, which expires in 2060, prevents permanent housing and casinos, among other things.

[WSJ] — Sasha Jones





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