SIEDC Actively Seeks Ideas for Its ‘Healthy Housing’ Initiative

SIEDC wants to build affordable green housing for young professionals on Staten Island.

The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation will serve as the host to a Request For Proposal Information Session at its annual Business Conference on April 16.

The SIEDC plans to discuss its new Healthy Housing Initiative, which is actively seeking ideas from developers, architects, engineers and planners for new housing options for young professionals.

The discussion will take place during the SIEDC Business Conference from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cherry Willow Room at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Healthy Housing, which is focused on creating new, modern and efficient spaces that focus on “green” living, transit oriented development, resiliency and cultural access, is one of several SIEDC-sponsored projects aimed at boosting the borough’s economic growth.

“These projects recognize a need for improvement in our borough and provide a solution,” said Steven Grillo, SIEDC’s first vice president.

Emphasizing the need to keep younger generations in our borough and citing Urby as an example, Grillo explained the importance of creating new, modern spaces at an affordable price point.

“We want to keep young professionals in Staten Island; so many travel outside of the borough to rent or purchase their first home because there is a lack of affordable spaces for them to live,” Grillo reported. “From an economic standpoint it makes so much sense to encourage this generation to stay: This is a wonderful way to retain economic growth. And for young professionals just starting out – making $45,000 to $60,000 a year, not yet able to afford market rate units – it makes perfect sense.”

It’s a project that is still in its infancy: For the past several months the SIEDC has been researching and seeking space in strategic corridors – Bay Street, a strip of Father Capodanno Boulevard and areas along the transit lines in Port Richmond and on the South Shore are all being considered. Grillo says the planning process for such a project includes analyzing all of the zoning laws in those four areas as well as entering into discussions with different developers to explore different building techniques and strategies.

“This is not single family homes and townhouses,” Grillo said. “These are modern apartment complexes like those currently revitalizing and rising on the North Shore.”

And Grillo says the project not only provides a wealth of new housing, it also helps reinvigorate these struggling corridors as well.

“Of course, Bay Street is natural place to do this with all of the upzoning that the city is doing there and Father Capodanno is a natural fit because in the wake of superstorm Sandy it is an area that calls for more dense construction and higher buildings that are more resilient to storm surges,” he said. “And the transit corridors in both Port Richmond and on the South Shore will focus on providing housing in areas in and around the train station which is just smart planning.”

Once data collection is complete, Grillo says the project will begin to progress.

“There’s a lot of research that needs to be done here,” he said. “And we recently reached out to property owners, developers and real estate agents to talk about the next direction of this project.”

Those interested in this initiative can attend the RFP Information Session on April 16 at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is located at 1100 South Ave., in Staten Island.