By Nicholas Rizzi
ST. GEORGE — With final approval expected at the end of November, the City Council has been looking for a way to approve the Staten Island Ferris wheel while voting down the Empire Outlets mall that developers want to sit next to it, according to a report on NY1.
The planned outlet mall, which would be the city's first, is on the same Uniform Land Use Review Procedure application as the New York Wheel, but the City Council has been working on a way to split the two in order to reject the mall, NY1 reported.
The tension stems from Empire Outlet's developer, BFC Partners', position on union labor, NY1 said.
BFC has only committed to use unionized labor on part of the project, even though union leaders have pushed for their workers to be hired for the entire project.
Residents and union members turned out in droves to call on BFC to use union labor at a Community Board 1 meetings earlier in the year when the projects were first voted on.
“They’re asking for a chance to work on a project in their hometown,” Keith Johnston, 55, an electrician with Local 3 who lives in Randall Manor, previously told DNAinfo New York.
The New York Wheel has already committed to using union labor for the project.
BFC officials previously said at meetings that they would look for ways to incorporate union labor, and said in a statement the project would create thousand of jobs for the North Shore.
"We need to put Staten Island first," said a spokeswoman for BFC Partners in an emailed statement.
"Efforts to deprive Staten Islanders of this transformative opportunity would be a devastating setback for the entire borough."
Councilwoman Debi Rose, who represents the North Shore, did not respond to requests for comments for this story, but told NY1 that, "I continue to negotiate the best possible deal for Staten Island."
The application is scheduled to hit the council floor for a vote on Oct. 30. If approved, BFC will build a 125-store outlet mall and a hotel next door to the New York Wheel.