Governors Island Corporation, doing business as The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust), is a not-for-profit corporation and instrumentality of the City of New York. The Trust holds title to 150 acres of the 172-acre island; the remaining 22 acres is owned by the National Park Service and is a National Monument. Governors Island is located in New York Harbor, approximately 800 yards south of Manhattan and 400 yards west of Brooklyn. The Island comprises the North Island and the South and is zoned R3-2; the North Island is mapped as the Special Governors Island District.
Access to the Island is provided by ferries that are operated by The Trust from slips at the Battery Maritime Building (BMB) in Lower Manhattan, which is the major access point for ferries traveling to the Island. Additional ferry service from Pier 6 in Brooklyn and Pier 11 in Manhattan is provided by The Trust and the East River Ferry, respectively, when the Island is open to the public.
Two Development Zones on the South Island have been anticipated since 2010 and were previously considered in both the 2011 Final Generic Environmental Impact Assessment (FGEIS) and 2013 Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Assessment (FSGEIS). Future uses in these two areas were not specifically proposed, determined, or defined in the FGEIS and FSGEIS; therefore, it was assumed that new buildings on the South Island could be designed for academic, research, office, cultural, entertainment and/or a conference center/hotel uses.
The Trust is currently proposing to enable up to 4.5 million gross square feet of development on the South Island (the “Proposed Project”). The proposed development on the South Island would exceed the previously considered development, which totaled 3 million square feet, including 1.5 million square feet on the North Island and 1.5 million square feet on the South Island, and would require zoning changes as well as infrastructure and transportation improvements to support the occupants and uses. The proposed development would serve to enliven the Island with active uses and users 24/7, and would support the on-going maintenance of the park and public spaces and the historic buildings on the North Island.
The Proposed Actions include zoning text and map amendments and the potential approval of capital funding. Specifically the Special Governors Island District would be expanded to cover the entire Island and create new controls pertaining to the South Island. The underlying zoning for the South Island would be changed to a C4-1 mid-density commercial district such as C4-5, while the zoning for the North Island would remain R3-2. No modifications of the deed restrictions are proposed and the Special Governors Island District controls applicable to the North Island would remain unchanged. New zoning text applicable to the South Island would define parcels for development, provide design controls for open spaces with and adjacent to the development parcels, specify permitted uses, restrict base height and overall building height and length, require setbacks, provide streetwall and articulation requirements, and restrict lot coverage and provide a minimum distance between upper portions of buildings.
To support the South Island Development, new infrastructure and services would be required. This will include increased ferry service and potentially the installation of an additional water main if it is determined necessary. To accommodate the additional population on the South Island, use of the BMB would be limited to passengers. Therefore, it is anticipated that freight transfer activities would be moved to the Brooklyn waterfront and may be distributed to multiple locations. While specific plans for freight deliveries would be developed in connection with the selection of future occupants of the South Island, hypothetical locations would be considered to identify potential environmental impacts of the freight transfer operations.
The Second Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SSGEIS) examines the potential cumulative impacts of the Proposed Project along with the Park and Public Space development and the North Island re-tenanting, which were previously approved. The South Island Redevelopment is anticipated to be completed by 2030.
Governors Island is located in New York Harbor, approximately 800 yards south of Manhattan and 400 yards west of Brooklyn. Governors Island is Block 1, Lot 10, in Manhattan Community District 1.
On August 23, 2018, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, as lead agency, issued a Positive Declaration and Draft Scope of Work for the Phased Redevelopment of Governors Island: South Island Development Zones. To receive public comments, a public Scoping Meeting was held at 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, at the Governors Island Ferry Waiting Room, Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street, New York, NY 10004. Written comments on the Draft Scope of Work were accepted until 5:00 P.M. Tuesday, October 9, 2018.
On October 15, 2020 the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development issued the Final Scope of Work, Notice of Completion and Draft SSGEIS marking the beginning of the public comment period on this document. A public hearing on the DSSGEIS will be held in conjunction with the public hearing on the associated Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) applications at a date to be announced later. Written comments on the DSSGEIS are requested and will be received and considered by the Lead Agency during the public comment period which runs from October 15, 2020 through ten days after the DSSGEIS public hearing.
The environmental review documents can be downloaded from CEQR Access.