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Thread: Governors Island

  1. #46
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    Wall St. Journal
    3/30/05

    New York Solicits Proposals for Governors Island


    Governors Island is just 800 yards from the concrete canyons of southern Manhattan, but it might as well be in another time zone. The 172-acre former Coast Guard base has sprawling lawns and drop-dead views and has sat unused for so many years that many New Yorkers don't even know it's there.

    Now, the city and state are moving ahead with plans for one of the biggest undeveloped pieces of real estate in New York. The goal: Nothing less than creating the world's next great public space.

    New York has begun sending out requests for ideas from architects, builders and institutions for how to develop the island, which served as a military installation for most of the past 200-plus years. New York wants the island to be used for education, research and arts and culture, as well as for recreation and entertainment.

    "It is the last great open space," says Randy A. Daniels, New York's secretary of state and chairman of the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corp., which owns most of the island. "What we have to do is to give New York an island that 50 or 100 years from today people will look back . . . the same way they look back on Central Park today."

    That means that even though it has some of the most enviable views of the lower Manhattan skyline, the group won't allow any residential development on the island, which could potentially be worth billions of dollars. But one of the guidelines is to make the island financially self-sufficient -- it eats up $10 million a year in public money right now -- so there will be a fairly significant commercial aspect, including at least one hotel and several restaurants and shops.

    The federal government sold the island to New York state two years ago for $1 on the condition it wouldn't be used primarily for commercial purposes. It is connected to Manhattan by a short ferry ride.

    Sometime this summer, Gipec will announce a program and development framework for the island and issue proposal requests to developers. By next year, the organization will sign contracts and construction will begin.

    Gipec's plan will cover the 150 acres of the island that it owns. The island's remaining 22 acres are a monument owned and run by the National Parks Service, which contains Fort Jay and Castle Williams, two forts built just before the War of 1812 to protect New York Harbor. Some of the grand officers' houses on the island date back to the Jefferson administration.

    The island's north end, where the monument is, will be preserved, while the south end, which is about 80 acres, is almost a blank slate. The buildings there are from the island's last military use as a Coast Guard outpost, and they aren't historically significant and can be torn down.

    "It has to be a place not only where a person can go and stay in a five-star facility, but also a place where a single mom and her two kids can hop on the ferry to play in the park and buy a hot dog," Mr. Daniels says.

    The development of Governor's Island is part of a larger plan to redevelop New York's East River waterfront and New York Harbor. Other projects include the redevelopment of a two-mile stretch of lower Manhattan's East River waterfront, the construction of a 1.3-mile-long Brooklyn Bridge Park on the Brooklyn waterfront and the rezoning of a 75-block industrial strip that runs along the river in North Brooklyn.

  2. #47

    Default Why not Cirque du Soleil?

    Cirque have been looking for a location downtown and maybe Governers island is perfect for it. A great location that will definitly attract visitors to the island and they could continue the stay in the park on the island

  3. #48
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    Out in the Harbor, Still Waiting



    Manhattan is a five- to seven-minute ferry ride away. The Park Service plans to offer tours starting June 11. Librado Romero/The New York Times


    The guns of 1861, still in place in Fort Jay overlooking the harbor. Librado Romero/The New York Times


    By GLENN COLLINS and CHARLES V. BAGLI
    Published: April 25, 2005

    Governors Island is looking for a few good ideas.

    Still.

    It has been more than two years since New York State and New York City purchased Governors Island from the federal government for $1, and teams of consultants have toiled to generate possible uses for "the island at the center of the world," as its marketing brochure proclaims it.

    But earlier this month, the president of the city-state partnership redeveloping the historic 172-acre island resigned. And city and state officials have dusted off the suggestion box once again. "Everybody involved had the same feeling, that we had an incredibly unique asset," said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, the vice chairman of the island's management corporation.

    "What I don't want is a bunch of consultants to determine what we ought to do there," he added. "So we are calling out to the world for one-of-a-kind ideas."

    Preservationists and community watchdogs say action, not more ideas, is needed and point to this delay as proof that the process has stalled. "Time is marching on," said Robert Pirani, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance, a coalition of organizations monitoring redevelopment plans, "because more than 12 million square feet of historic spaces are intended to be preserved, but are rapidly deteriorating. It is imperative that a lot of empty buildings be filled with private tenants."

    Albert K. Butzel, the president of Friends of Hudson River Park, said "there has been a six- to eight-month delay," adding: "In many ways it seems to have fallen off the central radar screen for both the city and the state. I don't see any really strong advocates within the government."

    Governors Island has been touted as a potential "international marketplace of leaders and innovators in education, commerce and arts" in its marketing materials.

    In January 2004, the island's managers hired a team of experts to produce a self-sustaining development plan. It was presented last summer to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation that is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and operations for 150 acres of Governors Island. (The National Park Service owns and administers an additional 22 acres of the island, designated as the Governors Island National Monument.)

    Among the many possible uses already envisioned are an academic compound; a hotel, spa and conference center; film production facilities; museums; office space; sites for concerts; and a marina. Plans also call for the maintenance of a public path along the island's 2.2-mile waterfront perimeter, and the creation of a 40-acre public park.

    According to the preservation corporation's announcements, the preliminary development and planning phase was scheduled for completion last fall, and a master plan was to be adopted by the end of this year. But on March 30, instead of proceeding to the next logical step - issuing requests for specific development proposals - a call for "expressions of interest," or more ideas, was issued to investors, developers and potential tenants.

    The state and city are in the last year of a three-year, $30 million commitment to pay for the island's security, utilities, ferry operation and infrastructure maintenance. The preservation corporation's chairman, Randy A. Daniels, the secretary of state of New York, said he would like to see a speedier development process, "but it takes two years to clear your throat in New York."

    He said the island had been guaranteed another $30 million this year from the state and the city for infrastructure work.

    Mr. Daniels rejected the notion that the Pataki administration had been uninterested because Gov. George E. Pataki may decide not to seek re-election. "I don't call a $30 million investment a project that has lost focus - that sounds like a real commitment to me," he said.

    Mr. Doctoroff said that despite the West Side stadium controversy, Lower Manhattan development issues and the mayoral campaign, "my staff is totally on top of this," and added, "I'm aware of everything that is going on."

    Mr. Daniels said he hoped the preservation corporation could put out specific requests for development proposals by year's end and work on a master plan for the site. But no construction can begin until an environmental impact statement can be prepared. "I can't see any development activity before late 2006," he said.

    Before he resigned as preservation corporation president, James F. Lima led the negotiations with the federal government that transferred the island to the city and state in 2003 for $1, a deal even better than Dutch settlers got when they bought it from American Indians in 1637 for two ax heads, some beads and a few iron nails.

    Mr. Lima resigned early this month and left the island last Monday. Before he did, he told colleagues involved in urban planning that he felt frustration with the lack of development progress, according to the colleagues, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Mr. Lima did not return phone calls.

    Mr. Doctoroff said that "people should not read anything into his resignation."

    Mr. Butzel said it would take more than a call for ideas to demonstrate the commitment of the city and state. "Tearing down a lot of the buildings that will never be used, and making a temporary park space, could persuade developers that people are serious about this," he said.

    He estimated that it would cost $100 million to $150 million to upgrade electric and sewer lines, provide potable water and refurbish the seawalls, the esplanade and ferry facilities.

    Mr. Doctoroff said such preparation would not be necessary because "people who know development, and who understand the needs of their institutions, can look past the existing conditions and imagine them not being there."

    Until the federal government departed, Governors Island, which affords heart-stopping views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, had been a base for the Army and the Coast Guard that was largely off-limits to visitors.

    The National Historic Landmark District includes the 92 acres at the northern end of the island. Twenty-two acres of that are designated the National Monument, with its star attractions, Fort Jay and Castle Williams. The exteriors of 62 historic buildings have been declared landmarks, and Mr. Doctoroff said the preservation corporation was "spending a lot of money to make sure conditions do not deteriorate."

    An 80-acre tract to the south is short on historic structures but long on tacky barracks buildings.

    Another opportunity being offered to developers is the Lower Manhattan terminus of the Governors Island ferry, the 1909 Battery Maritime Building, at 10 South Street.

    The island's managers believe that its rich history can make it a tourist destination.

    In the northeastern part of the island, the older foundation of an 1808 structure is thought to mark the home of the British royal governor. The Admiral's Quarters nearby was the site of the 1988 summit meeting between Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan.

    The fortifications at Castle Williams, matching those at Castle Clinton in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, were used in turning the British Navy away during the War of 1812. The island was a bulwark during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War and was an important staging area in both world wars.

    Another district, Colonels' Row, provided officer housing in brick mansions with parquet floors and marble fireplaces.

    The Coast Guard, which took over in 1966, left in 1997, but the island's martial history continued. Shortly after affording a horrifying view of the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the island became a bivouac for the National Guard.

    It takes five to seven minutes by ferry to traverse the 800 yards from Lower Manhattan to the island, and since the preservation corporation was formed, the National Park Service has offered tours for visitors. Its Web site, www.govisland.com, will offer details on the tour schedule that begins on June 11.

    The tours, led by seasonal rangers, "are helping to develop a public constituency for the island," said Linda C. Neal, superintendent of the Governors Island National Monument. "We, too, are looking for program ideas, and suggestions for adaptive reuse."

    To Mr. Doctoroff, "if we end up spending a few more months to get it right, we feel it's an investment that would be worthwhile," he said. "We are making a decision that would affect the future of this island more or less in perpetuity."


    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  4. #49

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    Out in the Harbor, Still Waiting

    By GLENN COLLINS and CHARLES V. BAGLI

    NY TIMES
    Published: April 25, 2005


    overnors Island is looking for a few good ideas.

    Still.

    It has been more than two years since New York State and New York City purchased Governors Island from the federal government for $1, and teams of consultants have toiled to generate possible uses for "the island at the center of the world," as its marketing brochure proclaims it.

    But earlier this month, the president of the city-state partnership redeveloping the historic 172-acre island resigned. And city and state officials have dusted off the suggestion box once again. "Everybody involved had the same feeling, that we had an incredibly unique asset," said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, the vice chairman of the island's management corporation.

    "What I don't want is a bunch of consultants to determine what we ought to do there," he added. "So we are calling out to the world for one-of-a-kind ideas."

    Preservationists and community watchdogs say action, not more ideas, is needed and point to this delay as proof that the process has stalled. "Time is marching on," said Robert Pirani, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance, a coalition of organizations monitoring redevelopment plans, "because more than 12 million square feet of historic spaces are intended to be preserved, but are rapidly deteriorating. It is imperative that a lot of empty buildings be filled with private tenants."

    Albert K. Butzel, the president of Friends of Hudson River Park, said "there has been a six- to eight-month delay," adding: "In many ways it seems to have fallen off the central radar screen for both the city and the state. I don't see any really strong advocates within the government."

    Governors Island has been touted as a potential "international marketplace of leaders and innovators in education, commerce and arts" in its marketing materials.

    In January 2004, the island's managers hired a team of experts to produce a self-sustaining development plan. It was presented last summer to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation that is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and operations for 150 acres of Governors Island. (The National Park Service owns and administers an additional 22 acres of the island, designated as the Governors Island National Monument.)

    Among the many possible uses already envisioned are an academic compound; a hotel, spa and conference center; film production facilities; museums; office space; sites for concerts; and a marina. Plans also call for the maintenance of a public path along the island's 2.2-mile waterfront perimeter, and the creation of a 40-acre public park.

    According to the preservation corporation's announcements, the preliminary development and planning phase was scheduled for completion last fall, and a master plan was to be adopted by the end of this year. But on March 30, instead of proceeding to the next logical step - issuing requests for specific development proposals - a call for "expressions of interest," or more ideas, was issued to investors, developers and potential tenants.

    The state and city are in the last year of a three-year, $30 million commitment to pay for the island's security, utilities, ferry operation and infrastructure maintenance. The preservation corporation's chairman, Randy A. Daniels, the secretary of state of New York, said he would like to see a speedier development process, "but it takes two years to clear your throat in New York."

    He said the island had been guaranteed another $30 million this year from the state and the city for infrastructure work.

    Mr. Daniels rejected the notion that the Pataki administration had been uninterested because Gov. George E. Pataki may decide not to seek re-election. "I don't call a $30 million investment a project that has lost focus - that sounds like a real commitment to me," he said.

    Mr. Daniels said he hoped the preservation corporation could put out specific requests for development proposals by year's end and work on a master plan for the site. But no construction can begin until an environmental impact statement can be prepared. "I can't see any development activity before late 2006," he said

    Before he resigned as preservation corporation president, James F. Lima led the negotiations with the federal government that transferred the island to the city and state in 2003 for $1, a deal even better than Dutch settlers got when they bought it from American Indians in 1637 for two ax heads, some beads and a few iron nails.

  5. #50

    Default

    Sorry krulltime, i didnt read your post while i was copying the text from the nytimes site.

    April 25th, 2005 11:32 AM krulltime
    April 25th, 2005 11:34 AM MagnumPI

  6. #51

    Default

    So I remember a press conference where Bloomberg annouced GI would be a campus for people studying to become NYC school teachers. Were they jumping the gun? Or is this request for development idea IN ADDITION to that plan?

  7. #52

    Default Biotech Campus?

    So another thread about Chuck Schumer's plan for downtown alludes to his advocating "an international biotech center on Governor's Island."

    http://208.198.20.182/ny1/content/in...id=8&aid=50299

    1. Has anyone heard anything more about this? I've run a few Google News searches with no luck.

    This just sounds like such a terrible idea. I'm surprise Schumer's behind it.

    What about pharmaceutical research requires those panaramic views? What about it requires those beautiful historic buildings? What about it requires such great and easy access to the NY Harbor? What about it requires gov't subsidy of land, as NY/NYC is in a position to do having acquired the land for $1?

  8. #53

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    What to do with Governors Island?

    BY PRADNYA JOSHI
    STAFF WRITER

    May 8, 2005

    It could be any real-estate developer's dream: 50 blocks of space in lower Manhattan, barely a stone's throw from Wall Street, filled with sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan's great monuments.

    But when it comes to Governors Island development, certain plans are off-limits: permanent housing, casinos and destruction of historical buildings. Those no-no's were part of the terms of the deal when the federal government turned over the deed to the island to New York State for $1 in 2003.

    Majestic vision, anyone?

    With that charter, city and state officials are looking for a grand vision for the island and are asking developers, universities, think tanks and others for ideas to transform the island, which -- as a military bunker and later Coast Guard installation -- was off-limits to most New Yorkers for centuries.

    The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., or GIPEC, the state agency charged with developing the island, is ratcheting up its efforts to get feedback on what to do with the swaths of land, more than 100 historic buildings and the breathtaking waterfront.

    Although development may take longer than originally planned, officials say they want to be "informed by what the marketplace realities are," said GIPEC chairman Randy A. Daniels. "It should be a very special place where 50 or 100 years from now people will say we got it right."

    Realistically, the development will take years, even decades, and the first building projects probably won't break ground until at least 2006. In the meantime, the island is being opened in the summer for public tours, and GIPEC hopes to attract public concerts or other gatherings.

    The agency must preserve at least 40 acres for public parks and leave open the esplanade so pedestrians can enjoy the harbor views. At different points in time, everyone from a Shakespeare theater company to the City University of New York had kicked the tires to see if the island would be suitable.

    Daniels won't name names on who is interested this time around but says several types of development will be welcomed: hotel, catering or other hospitality uses; educational and cultural institutions. Other plans could involve a marina, bed and breakfasts or spas. Some buildings seem to naturally lend themselves for bed and breakfast inns, wedding halls, spa resorts or marina docking.

    Putting the vast amount of space to use in a cohesive plan is proving not to be a quick task. Right now the island is run by a skeletal staff of eight people with an annual budget of just $10 million for basic upkeep, summer tours, special events and a semi-regular ferry operating. This year, the island is getting $30 million more to just maintain plumbing and buildings and make other urgent repairs. But as developers come in, the agency hopes that enough money will pour in to invest in restoring the grand Colonials, maintaining a regular ferry service and perhaps even building a pedestrian footbridge to Brooklyn.

    New deadline for ideas

    Therefore GIPEC has extended its deadline for Requests for Statements of Interest -- governmentspeak for a broad vision -- to June 20. On May 17 it will host a three-hour tour for potential developers or partners.

    From those submissions, the officials will create a master plan and solicit the more formal Requests for Proposals, a process that will award contracts to build or develop specific buildings or parts of the island.

    The plans come the same time as the city is taking on other ambitious real estate development projects. With the 16-acre site at the World Trade Center, West Side rezoning including the controversial New York Jets stadium, Brooklyn waterfront redevelopment and other projects hogging the spotlight, Governors Island has largely been out of sight and out of mind for most New Yorkers.

    But with 172 acres to offer and dozens of sites rich in history, Governors Island could eventually have a far more public use than other projects.

    Last week, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested that officials try to attract a major biotech or pharmaceutical facility to the island.

    The island's past lives have paralleled much of New York City's own evolution. Just as old New Amsterdam was redubbed New York after the British captured it from the Dutch, Nutten Island was renamed Governors Island a few years after the crown decreed it should be used for the "benefit and accommodation of His Majesty's Governors."

    In the 1800s the island began to be used for military purposes, first during the War of 1812, later for housing Confederate POWs during the Civil War. It was used as a supply base during World Wars I and II. The Coast Guard took it over in 1966 and used it as the headquarters for monitoring all of its Atlantic command. At the peak of the Guard's presence, more than 3,500 personnel and families lived on the southern half of the island, which is so large it once had regular bus service to shuttle passengers from one end to the other.

    The island, which resembles the shape of an ice cream cone, is actually two different land tracts. The northern end is filled with 100-year-old-plus forts, landmark buildings and the historic site run by the National Parks Service. The southern 80 acres by contrast are largely occupied by non-historic buildings in need of demolition: housing not up to city code, decrepit warehouses where barnacles were once stripped off buoys, as well as cracked tennis courts, swimming pools and other eyesores.

    Hoping for tear-downs

    City planners hope developers will come in and raze all those buildings and start from a blank slate. "That, in part, is why we're doing this request for expressions of interest," said Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, adding that he hopes ideas from "the best minds in the world" will come up with a great vision.

    Community groups, for the most part, are supporting the efforts and have even pushed for some of the broad plans of using public space. With the right vision, they say, the site can become "the next Central Park" where the city's residents will see it as a treasure.

    "It would exemplify New York's return to the waterfront," said Rob Pirani, executive director of Governors Island Alliance, a network of groups concerned with historic preservation and parks. "By having a variety of tenants, it makes for a more exciting and interesting place."

    Copyright 2005, Newsday, Inc.

  9. #54
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    Default Governor's Island

    I was in the Coast Guard and an had the opportunity once to go to Gov Island. The CG had to give up alot of bases because of the constant chopping of our budget's in addition to additional resonsibilities. It was Jan. and the wind really drove me to run everywhere. We had received the base from the Army as many of our facilities from our other sister services too due to lack of again funds. I did not have the time to explore the base as I wanted to, but I have never forgotten too the view of the Twin tower's too.
    The base and building's should be carefully considered and I am glad the public can see the base now as it was beautifully maintained by a grateful service. We had to learn how to do basically everything on bases, boats, etc; as we did not have near enough people - less than the NYPD at the time. I would like to go back now to see it again for sure.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #55

    Default Governor's Island from the Air

    Here's an aerial shot I took of the island recently.
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  11. #56

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    I may get flamed for this but I think we should build a CN Tower type structure on the island. It would have to be very tall, very original, it would definitely add to the skyline and provide unparalleled views. I've been to CN Tower and within it there are shops and restaurants, and if we build an adjoining skyscraper that is a hotel well I think that would just be perfect. And it certainly would not cover the entire site, not even close, therefore, we would still have our 40+ acre park and preserve the historical buildings (apparently not all buildings are historical/worth preserving)


    Anyone agree with this? I would love to see it happen but I doubt it. NY needs a CN-type tower, imo.

  12. #57

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    Itll never happen but I dont think it would be bad at all, in fact im quite fond of it!

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfenn1117
    I may get flamed for this but I think we should build a CN Tower type structure on the island. It would have to be very tall, very original, it would definitely add to the skyline and provide unparalleled views. I've been to CN Tower and within it there are shops and restaurants, and if we build an adjoining skyscraper that is a hotel well I think that would just be perfect. And it certainly would not cover the entire site, not even close, therefore, we would still have our 40+ acre park and preserve the historical buildings (apparently not all buildings are historical/worth preserving)


    Anyone agree with this? I would love to see it happen but I doubt it. NY needs a CN-type tower, imo.
    I like it. Put it at the southern tip. Expansive harbor views, you can see the skyline and the soon-to-be much bigger Brooklyn skyline. It would be a great draw to the island and it would enhance the skyline. Alas, it will likely not happen.

  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    I like it. Put it at the southern tip. Expansive harbor views, you can see the skyline and the soon-to-be much bigger Brooklyn skyline. It would be a great draw to the island and it would enhance the skyline. Alas, it will likely not happen.
    I disagree, I say leave it unspoiled. There will likely be an observation deck at ground zero as well as skyscrapers in Downtown Brooklyn, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the view.

    I see it as another Central Park, a chance to escape the urban landscape and all the $$$ and concrete. Whatever's built there should meld with the historic architecture and provide city dwellers opportunites like biking, kayaking, etc... recreational inexpensive things families and young people can enjoy.

  15. #60

    Default

    NYSUN:

    Redevelopment Ideas Pouring In for Governors Island

    BY JEREMY SMERD
    June 16, 2005

    For two years, the New York Harbor School has been landlocked in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

    Since the public high school opened in September 2003, its founders have gazed longingly eastward toward Governors Island, a site naturally suited for a school whose curriculum centers on the bays and tidal estuaries of the harbor.

    On June 20, the school will have an opportunity to seize its future. It will propose, to the city-state agency in charge of redeveloping Governors Island, building a campus on the island facing Buttermilk Channel, the quarter-mile-wide stretch of water separating the island's former army barracks from Red Hook, Brooklyn.

    The campus could mesh seamlessly with another concept to be proposed by the end of business Monday, the deadline set for submission of ideas for development of the island. A group of 55 civic groups called the Governors Island Alliance will unveil its plans for a 6-acre environmental education center, most likely located on the southern edge of the island, replete with a 2-acre reproduction of the New York Harbor, built to scale and ecologically correct with a minibeach representing Jamaica Bay.

    How such projects would reconcile with a proposal to build a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater inside a 194-year-old fort will be the task of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, which has been grappling with how to develop the island since the deed was handed over from the federal government for $1 in 2003.


    These proposals are just ideas, two of hundreds Gipec is likely to receive in response to its request for "expressions of interest" by June 20. The public benefit corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, sent out 3,000 applications detailing its guidelines, the group's chairman, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, said. Approximately 1,600 applications were downloaded from the organization's Web site.

    "We want people from all over the world giving some thought to appropriate, exciting uses for Governors Island," he said.

    Mr. Doctoroff expressed optimism that scores of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations - potential developers, investors, and tenants - both here and abroad would respond to the call for ideas on how to develop 150 acres of the island. The remaining 22 acres, known as the Governors Island National Monument, will be preserved and managed by the National Park Service.

    Though it's impossible to know how many proposals are forthcoming, real estate experts and those in the planning community are unsure if the private sector will respond enthusiastically to the government's call, which offers few guarantees compared to a more formal request for proposals.

    A master plan designed by architects hired by the city in 2004 was supposed to have led to such a request this year. Instead, the preservation corporation issued requests for more input from the community at large in March. A month later, the group's president, James Lima, resigned. Those familiar with the situation said Mr. Lima, who helped secure the deed to Governors Island in 2003, was frustrated by a lack of monetary commitment from the city and state. Although the preservation group received $30 million over three years for upkeep and maintenance on the island, as well as an additional $30 million this year for capital improvements, Mr. Lima said at a Community Board 1 meeting in March that it would take at least $80 million to improve the island's infrastructure - most notably transportation to the island, sewage treatment, and preservation of historic buildings - before private developers would take a risk on developing there.

    "The city and state need to make commitments that they will put in money so that the private sector will take this seriously," the president of Friends of Hudson River Park, Albert Butzel, said. "The problem isn't that the private sector won't come up with good ideas, the problem is the more you lay on the back of the private sector to put in infrastructure, the more commercial they have to make it."

    This poses a serious obstacle given the restrictions on the possible uses of the island stipulated by the federal government when it handed the deed over to the state. Of the 150 acres controlled by the city and state, the deed requires 40 acres to remain parkland, of which 20 acres are contiguous; 20 acres must be used for education; and 30 acres must be set aside for "public benefit," which could include arts and theater groups.

    The remaining 46 acres would be available for private development, but that, too, has its restrictions. Developers are not allowed to build residential housing, except dorms and short-term housing such as hotels, nor are they allowed to build for industrial purposes. Gambling in either casinos on the island or riverboats docked there, and power production, are prohibited. Cars, except for maintenance vehicles, are banned from the island.

    "It is clearly a site that is so encumbered with public restrictions that it's very difficult to develop," the president of the Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, told The New York Sun. "You're not going to see a private for-profit proposal that is very aggressive."


    Some money, however, may be forthcoming from the federal government, as $20 million has been earmarked for the island in the fiscal 2006 federal budget. The money, if granted in the budget, will be used to repair 40 docks and install a floating ferry dock to make it easier for private water taxis to take visitors to the island, said Robert Pirani, the director of environmental programs at the Regional Plan Association, one of the lead organizations of the Governors Island Alliance. Mr. Pirani, who knows of at least a dozen plans forthcoming this week from the private sector, acknowledged that once Gipec puts forward the more formal request for proposals, developers will get much more serious and detailed.

    "The more specific question you ask, the more specific answer you'll get," he said. "Gipec asked for general ideas."

    Until now, ideas from the private sector have included hotels, bed and breakfasts, museums, office space, a marina, and a conference center, one of the first ideas discussed in 2000, during the waning years of the Giuliani administration. At one time or another since then, plans have called for the involvement of the city's public and private universities, which may be readying their own proposals. One idea backed by Senator Schumer is the creation of a CUNY research facility built around a high-speed computer center that would do advanced modeling for a variety of industries.

    A notably different idea may come from the private sector, from a group called Federal Development, based in Washington, D.C., according to a consultant for the company, Michael Fishman. Mr. Fishman, who works for the engineering firm Halcrow, said Federal Development's proposal would be based on making the island a model of "environmental and economic sustainability." Mr. Fishman said Federal Development, which, according to its Web site, specializes in "master development of publicly owned real estate assets, "will propose to take on a 99-year lease of the property as the master developer on the island, coordinating individual development projects and helping to secure funding from investors, educational institutions, foundations, and governments.

    Such a plan, of course, sounds like what the preservation corporation was created to do in the first place.

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