The New Coney Island - Brooklyn's Times Square by the Sea

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Starrett City off the market

NY Times

After Two Years of Trying, Owners Give Up on Selling Starrett City

NY Times on Coney

The arguments continue. Will they ever end???

Excerpt -

The developer, Joseph J. Sitt, whose own plan owes more to Disney World than to Coney Island’s tradition of inexpensive amusements, argues that both the city and civic proposals are “seriously flawed” and doomed. In order to be economically viable, he says, there need to be time-share hotels and large retail shops, which would be banned under the city’s zoning proposal.

“We want to create a 21st-century Coney Island,” said Jesse Masyr, a real-estate lawyer who represents Mr. Sitt. “We don’t believe it’s economically viable because of the restrictions imposed on development in the district.”

Mr. Sitt, who has wrestled with city officials over his plans for several years, has tried to put pressure on the Bloomberg administration by vowing to buy more land in the area and ousting some of his tenants, including Astroland amusement park, adding to the desolate and vacant lots on the waterfront.

The city views the art society’s recommendations as financially impractical, as do Mr. Sitt and even some longtime vendors in Coney Island. They cite the $300 million theme park, Hard Rock Park, which went bankrupt last year, nine months after opening in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“The city’s plan practically doubles what we have now,” said Dennis Vourderis, who together with his brother, Steven, owns the one-acre Deno’s Amusement Park, consisting of 22 rides including the Wonder Wheel. “Based on a 100-day operating season, it’s tough to recoup the cost of these rides.”

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another email from the CIDC

Dear Friends and Residents of Coney Island:

As we move forward with the review process for the City's comprehensive rezoning plan, I wanted to make sure you had seen the attached article from Friday's AMNY newspaper. The story rightly points out that while the redevelopment of Coney Island's amusement district is a critically important, central component of the overall plan, there also has been a huge amount of work done to ensure that the entire Coney Island community and all of its residents will benefit. The City's plan will have hugely positive impacts in the areas of job creation, affordable housing and overall economic development, and we look forward to continuing to discuss these exciting benefits as the land use review process continues.

As Scott Krivitsky, a local teacher at Coney Island's PS 188, pointed out in an op-ed piece last year, "Without something to bring economic development and job opportunities to the community, our youngsters will be leaving school every day to return to a neighborhood that does not have much to offer. Fortunately, the City's revised redevelopment plan for Coney Island seems to understand this and looks beyond just amusements. It creates both jobs and affordable housing for Coney's residents and brings in millions and millions of dollars of investment and opportunity into the community. the end of the day, this is the most important thing we can provide for our kids." We couldn't agree more.

We will continue to keep you updated on our efforts, but please don't hesitate to contact us in the meantime

Lynn Kelly

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Brooklyn Aces drawing the crowds

Last night was the 5th game we attended this year and I have never seen it more crowded at Aviator! Love it! It's catching on just like the Cyclones did!

Great NY Post article on the success and future of the Aces -

Community Board approves Oceana Expansion

This is the one complex that started it all for South Brooklyn development. It's success has been phenomenal and set off a wave of great condo development on the South Brooklyn oceanfront. Now its getting even bigger!

Bay News excerpts -

With a single dissenting voice, Community Board 13 approved a planned expansion of the Oceana housing complex in Brighton Beach.At the group’s meeting last week, 27 board members voted in favor of the construction of a 16th building in the 15-acre Oceana complex.

“We’d very much appreciate the full support of the community board,” said James Whelan, senior vice president for public affairs for Muss Development, which is developing the Oceana site.

Oceana, which bills itself as a “resort-like community,” is comprised of 15 luxury condominium buildings in a gated community bounded by Brighton Beach Avenue, the boardwalk, Coney Island Avenue and Seacoast Terrace.The 16th building would boast below-grade public parking for 45 cars. The cars would enter and exit from Coney Island Avenue.There would also be a 20,000-square-foot commercial space on the first two floors of the building.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Save Coney Island should now become Build Coney Island

Just as I suspected there is pretty much nothing left in Coney as ULURP is beginning. Astroland is gone. Stillwell Ave. is vacant. All those big lots owned by Bullard and Taconic are vacant too. Is this what it took for the city to get rezoning going after so many years?

The Nimbys had no hand in forcing rezoning, but the landowners sure did.

Build Coney Island! Should have happened 40 years ago. Slow Slow Slow............

Friday, February 6, 2009

Getting it right

AM NY excerpts

While most New Yorkers and tourists trek to Coney Island to enjoy the surf, sand and thrill rides, it’s easy to forget that more than 50,000 people call the storied peninsula home.

During the past several decades, even as the waterfront amusement district was prospering, the residential areas of Coney Island were struggling economically. Today, city officials estimate the neighborhood’s unemployment rate could be as high as double the city average of about 7 percent, vacant lots along Surf and Mermaid avenues are a common sight, and residents complain they must often travel to other neighborhoods for basic necessities.

“We do need a lot more businesses out here,” said Amalia Leon, 50, a lifelong Coney Island resident and manager of Bargain Variety store on Mermaid Avenue. “Clothing, shoe stores, things like that.”

Residents are hoping a 19-block rezoning proposal for Coney Island, which extends beyond the iconic amusement area, will cure the neighborhood’s ills.

Of course, there’s no guarantee the city’s plan will rescue Coney Island from its decades-long funk.

Kathryn Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City, a business group that promotes economic development, said the peninsula, where one in five residents live in public housing, needs an infusion of residents of all income levels who can give the area some “purchasing power.”

The Bloomberg administration’s plan also calls for new mixed-income residential developments.

“Despite a lot of public investment [in the past] in both housing and attempting to get commercial development going, it’s never been successful,” Wylde said. “And I think that’s because it never got sufficient residential density to work.

“It can’t survive as simply an entertainment destination.”

People are starting to understand what it really means to get Coney on the right track. Good stuff.