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New York City's First Outlet Mall Still a 'Ghost Town'

Perched on the northeastern tip of Staten Island next to the ferry terminal, Empire Outlets has only filled 26 of its 75 storefronts since a grand opening in May.
September 2, 2019, 7am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Empire Outlets has been in the works for seven years and costed $350 million, Clifford Michel reports. Staten Island officials touted the project as part of a "North shore renaissance." But despite opening in May, parts of New York City's first outlet mall remain "like a ghost town," according to one Canadian visitor. 

"Empire was initially supposed to be anchored by Lighthouse Point — a $200 million mixed-use development — and a giant Ferris wheel, but that nearly $1 billion project fell apart in 2018 due to cost overruns," Michel writes. 

The project's backers remain optimistic. Staten Island business owners say few residents or tourists paid the neighborhood much attention before Empire Outlets. The 340,000-square-foot mall was built to change that, featuring expansive views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey.

According to a spokesperson for Empire Outlets, most of the shops are under lease. The timeline for their opening remains unclear. In the meantime, elected officials want to give the mall time, trusting the investment will pay off over the longer haul.

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Published on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 in The City
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