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Staten Islanders torn over plans to build giant mall next to future New York Wheel

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New York Wheel Staten Island Ferris Wheel

(PIX11) — Money tree or commercial monstrosity? Will the Empire Outlets help or hurt life on Staten Island?

On September 11, the City Planning Council approved plans for the New York Wheel, what will be the biggest Ferris wheel in the world, to be built in Staten Island.

The Wheel will be 625 ft. and will offer 38 minute rides for $15 to $30. The structure will also show exhibitions on NYC history and alternative energy.

But BFC Partners plans to build a 350,000 square ft. mall across from the monument has caused quite a buzz in the Staten Island community.

Empire Outlets mall will house 125 stores and a 200-room hotel looking on the New York Wheel.

The City Planning Council is trying to separate the New York Wheel and the Empire Outlets so the mall will not get developing rights.

BFC has said in a statement that they “need to put Staten Island first” and want to “work out the best deal for Staten Island.

They say the new mall will generate a huge amount of job opportunities for the surrounding area.

One Staten Island resident tells PIX11 “Anything that will create jobs can’t be a bad thing. Staten Island is often known as the ‘forgotten borough,’ so if there’s something other than the ferry bringing tourists in and getting money into the community, I think it’ll be good.”

However, many Staten Islanders are worried about increased gridlock, and BFC’s reluctance to hire union workers to build for the entirety of the project.

Others say the shops will need to be extremely diverse in order to appeal to the local community and also the tourists coming from Manhattan, in order to keep activity flowing every day of the week.

Web produced by Allison Yang

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