Four million square feet on the south end of Governors Island was just approved for rezoning by the City Council. Led by the nonprofit Trust for Governors Island, the group hopes this new development will create 8,000 new jobs and drive $1 billion in economic impact for the city. 

The 34 acres of the newly rezoned area makes way for the construction of university space, hotels, offices, research facilities and retail. 

The planning committee has earmarked part of the new space for a research organization to study climate change, yet so far there is no academic institution tapped to lead this effort. 

The new zoned area includes a building heights cap, overall square footage maximums, limitations on intrusions on public space, increased ferry service, and caps on the amount of office and hotel space. The council hopes the proposed development will not only generate revenue to help maintain the island but transform it into a year-round public attraction.

Before construction begins, two nearby vacant Coast Guard buildings and former barracks will be demolished.