The face of Staten Island real estate development is changing at a dizzying rate. Web searches for properties for sale, a leading indicator, are up 62% in the period from April 2014 to March 2015, with an astounding 128% increase for views of specific properties.

Not only is interest way up, so is supply. Despite stops and starts in developments over the past decade, this year could mark a turning point, with hundreds of new properties coming onto the market, and many more about to break ground. According to an article in The New York Times, developers are focusing on the North Shore, with its accessibility to Manhattan. The new properties are distinguished by features normally associated with fashionable new developments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, while prices are substantially lower. For example, a new one-bedroom in Manhattan averages $1.15 million, versus $410,000 at the Accolade, a 100-unit warehouse conversion in the Bay Street Landing complex in St. George.

Notable projects in varying stages of completion include:

  • URL (“Urban Ready Life”) Staten Island, a residential and retail development with emphasis on connecting the community to the waterfront in Stapleton, an area undeveloped since the naval base was decommissioned there 20 years ago. In addition to new housing and retail, the developers in partnership with the city are creating park-like open spaces and a mile-long esplanade to take advantage of the spectacular waterfront location. 571 apartments will become available this fall, with an additional 329 under construction. URL also comprises 35,000 square feet of retail space, with no chain stores included. Rather, visitors will find Coffeed, a charity-minded espresso bar originally from Long Island City, and a 5,000 square foot garden whose bounty will be available at an on-site farm stand.
  • Lighthouse Point, a $200 million retail and residential complex planned for St. George will use the historic brick campus of the United States Lighthouse Service Depot. Its completion is planned for 2018.
  • Groundbreaking ceremonies took place in early April for Empire Outlets, a $350 million mall and entertainment complex project in St. George. Tourists from around the world ride the Staten Island Ferry for the glorious views, but up until now there have been few shopping and dining destinations once they get to Staten Island. Part of Empire Outlets’ ambitious plan is to attract those tourists. To that end, the developers have already begun to advertise in several European countries.
  • Financing is nearing completion for the $500 million New York Wheel, a 630-foot-tall Ferris wheel modeled on the London Eye.

Staten Island’s image as a sleepy bedroom borough is poised for transformation in the next few years, with an abundance of residential retail and entertainment projects well under way.