Should We Start Calling Staten Island “The Next Brooklyn”?

Should Staten Island be the next Brooklyn?

Because it’s a Friday, and Fridays are nothing if not a time to while away the work day, some idle speculation: with prices in Brooklyn (and even Queens!) being what they are, is it time to speculatively anoint another outer borough the “Next Brooklyn”? And should said outer borough be Staten Island, of all places? Apparently some developers are banking on exactly that.

Fast Company has a profile of developer David Barry (a majority owner of the Standard, among other things) whose company Ironstate is working on an elaborate $150 million residential project over on Staten, the Urban Ready Living (URL) developments, set to open in the fall of 2015. The idea is a simple one, to lure young would-be-Williamsburg-residents to a different borough with similar amenities and cheaper rents. (Though, not cheap cheap; one-bedrooms in the building go for around $2,000, studios for $1,600, and the most expensive units go for $3,100.)

And, as much as we love trawling these things for cringe-y developer quotes (“Join the gentrification!” etc.), Barry seems to have pretty reasonable expectations about the whole thing, and told Fast Company, “Nobody can afford to live in New York City anymore except for the 1 percent, or the tippity top percents. That’s a problem we’re trying to solve. I don’t want to pretend [URL Staten Island] is some artist commune, but at the same time, we’re trying to figure out what makes the most sense allowing young artists and entrepreneurs to flourish—and what’s going to resonate with that market.”

If a $2,000 apartment in a new building isn’t enough to lure you across the water, well, here’s a bonkers list of URL’s planned amenities:

Not only will the development offer residents Manhattan views from prime waterfront property–currently an industrial graveyard–but it will go beyond what most luxury rentals in Manhattan provide. There are plans for an outdoor pool, a community garden (which will be run by urban-farming company Brooklyn Grange), a rooftop bee farm, shared work space ideal for start-ups, a waterfront esplanade, more than a dozen retail and restaurant spaces, a 4,000-square-foot gym with a yoga studio, and a café that will serve as the building’s lobby. There are also discussions about a performance space or a gallery, or maybe an open kitchen where chefs will help residents cook gourmet meals.

Rooftop bee farm!! Anyway, one interesting detail here is a plan to have staff help check in guests and to provide storage lockers for residents’ valuables, making it easy and above-board for residents to rent out their units on Airbnb; seems like something a lot of other buildings would do well to try to adopt for themselves. One ambitious development does not a zeitgeist make, though, and as a rule, we’re pretty skeptical about dubbing anything the “next” anything else (we’re looking at you, “Next Williamsburg” hype). But in any case, maybe this’ll speed up those repairs to the Staten Island Ferry?

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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