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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Changing Coney Island

When you look at the approved zoning plan it is so impressive to see that we got year round zoning in all 3 parts of the plan - Coney East, Coney North, and Coney West. It really is quite amazing to see how much change is about to happen in the next several years. This was a total and complete win for year round development in Coney.

And looking just to the east, Brighton Beach downzoning fell through which opens up that area to grow tremendously along with Coney Island. I expect Brighton will be an oceanfront residential hot spot with many more new condos along with Sheepshead Bay.

We are going to see growth on the Brooklyn waterfront the likes of which we have never seen before. As the economy continues to recover, South Brooklyn will undergo the same renaissance that happened to North Brooklyn in the last decade.

CIDC Email

Full City Council Approves City's Coney Island Plan!

Dear Residents and Friends of Coney Island:

We did it! Three cheers for the future of Coney Island!

Yesterday the New York City Council took a monumental step forward in the redevelopment of Coney Island by approving the City's Comprehensive Coney Island Rezoning Plan with 44 votes in favor, 2 against and 1 abstention.

Through the joint leadership of the Bloomberg Administration, the New York City Council, in particular Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., and the CIDC, we have paved the way for a vibrant future for Coney Island -- one that will benefit both the amusement area and the local community with new rides, housing, jobs, infrastructure, and other amenities.

I would like to thank all of you personally for your constant support and input throughout this long journey. It is your passion for Coney Island -- its people, culture and history -- that has brought us to this point. Though our efforts to revitalize the area are far from complete, today we stand together to mark a critical milestone that will usher in Coney Island's renaissance for generations to come.

Thank you so much. We are thrilled.

Sincerely,
Lynn Kelly

Nadler's Press Release

“Today’s New York City Council vote for the Coney Island redevelopment plan is positive news for Coney Island’s future. While this plan may not be perfect, it represents a responsive and honest compromise, and a tremendous improvement over what currently exists in Coney Island. There is no doubt in my mind that, when fully realized, this plan will dramatically reinvigorate Coney Island. The plan proposes to simultaneously build a first-rate, year-round amusement district; to construct thousands of units of affordable and middle-income housing for locals; to attract new businesses and amenities for both residents and visitors; and, critically, to create valuable jobs, job-training and economic development for the community. Public funds will be dedicated not only to a new amusement park but also to improving Coney Island Hospital, repairing Luna Park’s crumbling fa├žade, constructing a new gym at P.S. 188, rebuilding the long-suffering boardwalk, and other local infrastructure projects.

“Coney Island’s residents have waited patiently on the sidelines of economic progress for too long. This project clearly has the potential to help bring the community back into the mainstream of New York City’s largesse. Likewise, for decades, locals and tourists alike have been deprived of a substantial and viable amusement park, and this redevelopment plan promises to launch a new heyday for Coney Island as a famous entertainment destination. What’s more, a restored and vital amusement district will vindicate the dogged commitment and longevity of Coney Island surviving amusements – Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone and Coney Island USA.

“I thank the Mayor and all of his hardworking staff who have spent so much time and energy creating this plan, listening to the community’s concerns, and making the best compromise possible. I congratulate Councilman Recchia for his leadership in fighting for a better plan and shepherding it through the City Council. And, I thank Joe Sitt for his investment in the neighborhood and for agreeing ultimately to do what is right for the future of Coney Island’s residents.”

http://www.house.gov/list/press/ny08_nadler/ConeyIslandRejuvenation072909.html

Marty's Press Release

BP MARKOWITZ APPLAUDS CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF CONEY ISLAND PLAN

“Worldwide, the words ‘Coney Island’ conjure ‘America’s Playground,’ renowned for its outlandish amusements, a beautiful beach and bustling boardwalk, food and entertainment, and a unique sense of affordable family fun. I want to commend Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber, the EDC and President Seth Pinsky and Vice President Madelyn Wils, the CIDC and President Lynn Kelly, as well as State Senator Diane Savino, Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny, Community Board 13, ACORN and all the other community groups and stakeholders who care so passionately about Coney. Thanks to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Council—and the leadership and commitment of Brooklyn’s own great Coney Island champion, Council Member Dominic Recchia—today’s vote to approve the Coney Island Plan marks another important victory for Coney Island, Brooklyn and New York City.

Let’s face it, as we continue to work to ensure Coney’s bright future we don’t always agree on everything, but Coney Island is bigger than all of us. It was here before we were ever thought of, and with our strong commitment it will be here and thriving long after we’re gone. Coney Island is about families, and it is a tribute to all involved that we are all committed to making sure Coney Island is indeed the “place to be.”Throughout this process, I have insisted that any proposal we approve must ‘build with Coney, by Coney and for Coney’—and the inclusion of some of my most critical recommendations—guaranteed amusement frontage, payment of prevailing wages, no less than 35 percent affordable housing in the Coney West and Coney North districts, replacement of Abe Stark rink and a new community gymnasium at PS 188—help achieve that goal.

As we move forward I will continue to advocate for more amusements and architecture and design that remains unique, creative and iconic. As we know, Coney Island’s 19th and 20th century heydays inspired every single great amusement park that came after it, and it must live on as a place where families of every means can come to play and to dream. We owe it to these families to get the job done—to make Coney Island once again the “amusement epicenter” of America for the rest of this century and beyond.

http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/press/2009/july29.htm

Bloomberg Press Release

STATEMENT OF MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ON THE ADOPTION OF THE CONEY ISLAND REVITALIZATION PLAN

“By approving our Administration’s plan to revitalize Coney Island, the Council has helped us breathe new life into a City treasure that’s been in decline for decades. Right now, only three acres of active amusements remain at Coney Island. Dozens of small business owners have seen their businesses shuttered and a feeling of uncertainty has pervaded the Coney Island community. Thanks to the Council’s vote, we’ve brought the era of uncertainty to an end.

“Now we move forward with a plan that will return Coney Island to its former glory, ensure its future as a year-round destination for visitors and create a more livable, vibrant community for its residents. For one, Coney Island will grow to include a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district, paving the way for a revitalized seaside destination that will attract New Yorkers and millions of visitors each year. Outside the amusement district, it will create 4,500 new units of housing – 35 percent of which will be affordable to low- and moderate-income families. In all, the plan will create 6,000 new, permanent jobs and 25,000 construction jobs, and generate an economic impact of $14 billion over 30 years.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do in the days ahead. We have every reason to feel optimistic because we’re working aggressively to iron out the terms of deals with landowners. And we will also continue working with our partners in Albany to gain approval for the parkland legislation we need for the development to move forward.

“Today, we’ve taken a big step forward for Coney Island, and for the future of our entire city. I’d like to thank Speaker Quinn and Council Member Domenic Recchia – whose leadership really helped improve the project – and so many others who played important roles, including Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Diane Savino, Assembly Member Alec Brook-Krasny, Council Member Melinda Katz, Deputy Mayor Bob Lieber and his staff, Amanda Burden and her team at City Planning, Seth Pinsky and his team at the City’s Economic Development Corporation, and Rafael Cestero and the staff at Housing Preservation and Development.”

http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fhtml%2F2009b%2Fpr352-09.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1

Domenic's Press Release - A New Beginning for Coney Island


For too long, New York’s most historic and exciting neighborhood has been a shadow of the glory and glamour it once held. While New Yorkers and tourists still flock to Coney Island during the summer, the winter months are harsh.

Today is truly a historic day. By working together with Mayor Bloomberg, his administration and the community, we were able to develop a rezoning plan that will usher in a new era for this iconic neighborhood, guaranteeing that it will thrive every single day of the year.

This will mean year-round jobs that pay livable wages, as well as programs to place local residents in those jobs.

Thirty-five percent of new housing will be affordable, with 50 percent of that dedicated to Coney Island residents. This will include low-income senior housing, workforce housing and, most importantly, a home ownership program that will assist families with down payments, giving them the opportunity to purchase homes they can call their own.

We’re building a community center – Coney Island Commons – which will be run by the YMCA and will be 100 percent affordable.

Tourists will come from all over the world to visit, but not just for three months out of the year. Coney Island will continue to have exciting, world-class amusements and the New York Aquarium will become an even bigger draw, with a brand-new shark exhibit.

Students at PS 188 will have a gym, instead of having to play in the cafeteria, and land is being set aside to build a new school.

Abe Stark Rink will remain open until a new replacement rink is built nearby, and a commitment has been made to renovate the world-famous Boardwalk.

We have secured $30 million for Coney Island Hospital to renovate the emergency room and make other improvements to handle the capacity of current and future residents and visitors. There is more than $137 million allocated for much-needed upgrades to the peninsula’s infrastructure to alleviate sewage and drainage problems that have been affecting Coney Island for years.

In the course of new construction we are ensuring there will be no big-box stores, and we will begin the process of landmarking the Shore Theater, one of Coney Island’s historic buildings.
Let me be clear: Any single one of these things would be a huge benefit to Coney Island. The fact that the commitment has been made to provide all of these is truly remarkable.


This has been a long process filled with hours of meetings and public testimony. While I believe that it’s impossible to make everyone happy – and anyone who tries to do so is doomed to failure – with this plan we have managed to apply our strongest ideas and move forward.

I have been working on this redevelopment for eight years. Today is the day I can proudly say that the City Council has made the commitment to restoring the glory and the glamour of Coney Island’s past, and guaranteed a bright future that maintains the character of the community.
Negotiations with the Bloomberg administration have resulted in a number of agreements that will benefit the more than 50,000 people who live in Coney Island – benefits that will travel up through all of Brooklyn and the rest of the city. Those agreements are detailed below:

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
A commitment has been made to ensure that Coney Island residents have access to year-round jobs that pay livable wages. Minority/Woman Business Enterprise participation and apprenticeship programs will be encouraged in the community. Working in conjunction with Kingsborough Community college and other local groups, a workforce training program will be set up to serve more than 400 area residents. Job fairs will be hosted in Coney Island, sponsored by Councilman Recchia, the CIDC and local groups, and Workforce Center Outreach teams will be dispatched to provide screening and job placement services.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Under the rezoning, 35 percent of new housing will be designated as affordable, and Community Board 13 residents will have priority for 50 percent of those new units. Affordable housing will include a mix of low-income senior housing, middle-income housing, workforce housing and home ownership programs.


In addition, the plan will include Home First, a mortgage down-payment assistance program, which will give preference to Community Board 13 residents for up to 10 homes per year at $15,000 per home, totaling $750,000 over 5 years.

PARKS
Abe Stark Rink will remain open, with schedules for ice hockey leagues and open skating uninterrupted until a new replacement rink is built nearby, at a location to be determined.
There is funding in place for reconstruction of the Boardwalk, and a commitment has been made for developing a schedule to replace the entire Boardwalk.


In addition, funds have been allocated for reconstruction of Dreier-Offerman/Calvert Vaux Park, which will add synthetic turf soccer fields, new park pathways, sports field lighting, pedestrian lighting, improved park drainage, water fountains, landscaping and a new comfort station.

WONDER WHEEL & WONDER WHEEL WAY
Wonder Wheel Way has been modified from a 56-foot street to a 30-foot pedestrian walkway, between West 15th and West 16th streets, and between West 12th and West 10th streets. This will permit more room for amusements and keep cars out of areas where there will be a large number of pedestrians. This will permit the Vourderis family, which has operated the ride for generations, to keep the Wonder Wheel running.

LOCAL SCHOOLS
There is $5.5 million in the Department of Education’s Fiscal Year 2010-2014 plan for a new gym at PS 188. There has also been a site designated on the northeast corner of Surf Avenue and West 29th Street to build a new school.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION
The historic Shore Theater is calendared to be landmarked.

CONEY ISLAND HOSPITAL
We have secured $30 million for Coney Island Hospital to renovate the emergency room, as well as make other improvements, in order to handle the capacity of current and future residents and visitors.

NEW YORK AQUARIUM
Money has been allocated to build a world-class shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium.

INFRASTRUCTURE & AMENITIES
Work is progressing on a sewage and drainage plan, and DEP is allocating more than $137 million to initiate design and construction of the drainage plan, with additional funding in later years as the project moves forward. In addition, a new supermarket will be built, big box stores will be discouraged, and the Human Resources Administration office, which is located in Coney Island, will be relocated within the neighborhood. Gargiulo’s will be able to expand, so that the Russo family can continue to provide jobs and a catering hall to the community.


http://drecchia.com/2009/07/30/a-new-beginning-for-coney-island/

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Timetable

My expectation is that it will take about 5 years to get the indoor part of the new Coney Island East complete - Restaurants, hotels, movie theaters etc. Longer for the new amusement park ( maybe 5-10 years) since the City must RFP that property first and we have no idea who will bid on the lease. In the meantime I see interim amusements coming in the next couple of summers. Maybe even a return of Astroland on city owned property! Wouldn't that be something else?

The community must now focus on a CBA!

Daily News on Deal

Excerpt -

Sources said that under a tentative agreement, the city would buy six of the 10.5 acres the developer owns. Sitt would hang on to property on Stillwell and Surf Aves. It wasn't clear how much the city would pay for the land. Sitt previously rejected an offer of $105 million.

Thor spokesman
Stefan Friedman said the company is "hopeful that these negotiations will result in a timely resolution and a brighter day for Coney."

The city's plan calls for a sparkling new 12-acre amusement park, part of a 27-acre district that would also include indoor entertainment like skating rinks and bowling alleys. There are also plans for four hotels.


City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Brooklyn), whose district includes Coney Island, said the new attractions would keep visitors entertained all year round.

"It gets awful cold and awful lonely in Coney Island," he said. "Tourists will come from all over the world to visit, but not only three months of the year."

http://www.nydailynews.com/real_estate/2009/07/30/2009-07-30_coney_plan_passes_council_easily.html

CrainsNY - Coney For All Supports Plan

Excerpt -

Even before the council convened Wednesday afternoon to vote on the issue, the Coney Island for All coalition issued a press statement supporting the plan.

“We believe this plan now provides the good jobs and increased affordable housing that will benefit the Coney Island community,” said Matt Ryan of New York Jobs with Justice in a press statement.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20090729/FREE/907299957

Brooklyn Paper on Rezoning

Excerpt -

Recchia’s opposition faded after Bloomberg agreed to fund a bevy of neighborhood improvements in the councilman’s district, including $30 million to renovate the emergency room of Coney Island Hospital, $5.5 million to build a new gym at an elementary school and money to pay for a deluxe shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium.

“Any single one of these things would be a huge benefit to Coney Island,” Recchia said. “The fact that this commitment has been made to provide all of these is truly remarkable.”

With Recchia now satisfied, the Bloomberg administration can redouble its efforts on Sitt, whose company Thor Equities owns 10-1/2 acres of land in the faded amusement district near the Boardwalk.

The Times reported that the city is moving to buy six acres from Thor and add it to other city-owned parcels on which another developer would build a state-of-the-art outdoor amusement park, between the Cyclone roller coaster and defunct Parachute Jump.

Sitt would then be able to develop his remaining property adjacent to the proposed theme park, to create potentially highly profitable hotels, shopping and other covered tourist attractions.

Neither side would discuss the negotiations.


http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/30/32_30_mm_council_passes_bloomy_coney.html

Interesting Live Blog of the City Council Meeting

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/2009/07/live_coney_isla.php

Most interesting part

In fact, it appears that the city's last-minute downscaling of the amusement district was a terrible misplay: By okaying a hotel on Sitt's land before getting him to give up the amusement district, the city has effectively given up any leverage it had over the developer — especially since as part of Recchia's amendments adopted last week, the city agreed not to use eminent domain to obtain any land in the amusement district.

Bolding added for clarity.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NY Times - GREAT GREAT NEWS

Here is the deal!!!!! Perfect!!! We got Year Round Zoning

Excerpt -

Council Approves Deal to Upgrade Coney Island
By
Charles V. Bagli
Don Hogan Charles

As part of the plan, six of the 10 acres owned by the Coney Island developer Joseph J. Sitt would be bought by the city.


Updated, 4:40 p.m. A new Coney Island moved closer to reality on Wednesday afternoon. The Bloomberg administration neared a deal with an important landowner there, while the City Council approved the mayor’s ambitious plan to revive the seafront district once known as the world’s largest playground.

It has been an expensive and bruising victory for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose administration wants to establish a 27-acre entertainment district between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk, with 9.4 acres devoted exclusively to freak shows, arcades, roller coasters and other rides. New zoning would allow high-rise hotels on Surf Avenue and 4,500 apartments north and west of the amusements.

The Council voted in favor of the mayor’s plan, 44-2, with one abstention, on Wednesday afternoon, even as city officials put the last-minute touches on a deal with Joseph J. Sitt, a developer who has been at odds with the Bloomberg administration even has he spent over $90 million buying property in the area.

Negotiations with Mr. Sitt’s representative, Jesse Masyr, went on until 11 p.m. on Tuesday and through the Council meeting on Wednesday.

Under the tentative deal, according to officials and executives involved in the talks, the city will buy six of Mr. Sitt’s 10 acres, leaving the remaining property on Surf and Stillwell Avenues for him to develop.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/council-approes-deal-to-upgrade-coney-island/



Rezoning today!!!!!

Just about everybody in the world knows that the City Council votes on Rezoning today. The real question is will Thor and the City come to an agreement by voting time this afternoon??? Nobody really knows! Rumors are not flying in the press this morning. Maybe this afternoon???

Monday, July 27, 2009

CLEAR Meeting update

It was very nice to see so many people who went to the City Council meetings at the CLEAR meeting tonight. My one hope is that with all the labor issues and housing concerns that an all encompassing community benefits agreement can be put forth in a relatively short period of time. Rezoning is in 2 days. There is time after zoning, but not an infinite amount. The community must move faster and in unison! Organization is the key! As I stated at the meeting, my hope is Reverend Mobley can unite the community with a CBA. There is power in numbers, but the numbers must not pull in all different directions.

Tonight: Community meeting on jobs and affordable housing

From CI CLEAR

Hello Everyone,

Well the time is coming near and the decision on Coney Island and how it will be developed is coming up. Let your voice be known and show you want good paying jobs in the Coney Island area. Help Coney Island Clear secure a better future for the hard working folks of Brooklyn.

Join Coney Island C.L.E.A.R. for an important community meeting on the subject of Coney Island’s Redevelopment! Join us for an update on the status of the redevelopment plan that is scheduled to be voted on by the New York City Council on Wednesday, July 29, 2009.

Make sure that your voice is heard before the City Council votes so that we may ensure that Coney Island residents receive the maximum possible benefit from the redevelopment process.

Monday, July 27, 2009 Public School 329 – 2929 West 30th Street (between Mermaid and Surf Avenues) 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Deal rumors

Most important part of the Architects newspaper article -

So when Recchia suddenly endorsed a plan today that had but a few minor differences with the city’s original proposal, it signaled not only that Coney Island may finally be saved from an uncertain future, but also that the developer who owns an important swath of land in the area—and a major Recchia ally—may be on the verge of striking a deal with the city.

http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=3687

Friday, July 24, 2009

Deal getting closer

Brooklyn Eagle excerpt -

On Coney Island, the fight seems to be over the size and location of the entertainment center, but the real issues are the city’s plan to essentially build a new and very modern Coney Island.

Although no one is talking for the record, there are rumors that the city and developer Joe Sitt are nearing an agreement over the several acres he owns smack in the middle of the entertainment site. Resolution of this situation will go far to getting the new Coney Island started.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=10&id=29746

We may see amusements west of Keyspan Park as well

This would make sense if Thor and the city strike a deal to split the land East of Keyspan.

Excerpt from the Architect's Newspaper

Any such deal could also end up improving the amusement area, as it would make way for additional open-air amusements along the boardwalk on the three blocks west of KeySpan, something amusement advocates have been clamoring for. Recchia said he would continue to fight for this change, the implication being that with Sitt no longer a factor, and thus less demand for luxury development in the district, the city might return to its earliest proposals, which called for 15 acres of open-air amusements on both sides of KeySpan. The current plan, by contrast, calls for housing to the west.

http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=3687

CI CLEAR Meeting Monday

July 27 - 7 PM

PS 329 - 2929 West 30th Street (between Mermaid and Surf Avenues)

Come discuss the progress on a Community Benefits Agreement and meet the real people of Coney Island!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And here is the Bay News

Excerpts -

But ride advocates hoping for a hard line against the height of hi−rise hotels inside the amusement district were sorely disappointed.

“We just couldn’t make this work,” Recchia conceded.

Dick Zigun, the unofficial “mayor of Coney Island,” has been pressing the city to zone new hotels north of Surf Avenue and add more space for outdoor amusements.“I think we lost badly on the hotels,” Zigun said. “I think they dropped very clear hints that once they buy Thor’s property, there’s reason to believe that they’ll add more rides. There are some upcoming meetings on landmarking historic buildings. So we lost on the hotels, but I don’t think we’ve got a decision yet about rides or historic buildings.”

But in talking about those ongoing negotiations, Recchia emphasized the importance of the kinds of indoor attractions like movie theaters and bowling alleys that ride advocates have long criticized as being weak draws.

“One thing that we’ve been saying is we want to make this an all year−round destination, not just open amusements,” Recchia said. “That’s the problem with Coney Island. In the wintertime it’s desolate. Nobody wants to go there. We want to bring in movie theaters, bowling alleys, maybe an indoor water park and hotel.”

Recchia, however, refused to classify this week’s action as a loss for ride advocates.“I believe at the end of the day by July 29, everybody is going to be happy and the ride advocates are going to be happy,” Recchia said.

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2009/07/23/coney_island/bay_news/news/bay_news_newsgtjekmu07232009.txt

Bay News has a great article on whats going to happen on the 29th

We are going to get great zoning that makes EVERYBODY HAPPY! I will post it when it gets online.

Year round advocates like me, jobs, affordable housing , amusement advocates EVERYBODY will like it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where is the urgency on Thor's part?

One has to ask the question now. Why would Thor make a deal in one week's time before the July 29th final Council meeting when the Parkland issue is still in the state's (not the city's) hands and they have not moved on it?

One would hope the City and Thor come to a good middle of the road deal but where is the urgency? Will the State legislature move on Parkland this year? They don't even meet until January, and Kruger, Savino, and Brooks Krasny have all come out against it previously if the landowner isn't satisfied.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sitt says "The city cannot be successful without me"

This guy never gives up! Way to Go Joe!!!!

Newsday excerpt -

"I am hopeful that we'll be able to reach a happy medium that makes all sides happy and includes the ability of the city to play some role, together with me, in Coney Island," Sitt told the AP. "The city cannot be successful without me," he added.

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--coneyisland0721jul21,0,5981304.story

NY Times - They are talking 6 acres with Thor

Looks like they may split the property. Part Parkland part retained by Thor. Not bad if they can close the deal.

NY Times excerpt -

In recent days, city officials talked to him about a deal in which he would sell roughly six acres and retain the rest for development. But it remains to be seen whether the two sides can come to terms.

“We can be hopeful that the administration knows how to close a deal,” Jesse Masyr, a lawyer who is handling the negotiations for Mr. Sitt, said.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/21/coney-island-plan-takes-step-forward/

NY Post - Sitt willing to share

Excerpt -

I'm the guy who controls this - it's my sandbox," said Joe Sitt, even as the City Council's land use committee green-lighted the mayor's plan.

The city's plan - which includes building a new 9.39-acre outdoor park within a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district - will head to the full council for a final approval next week.

It is expected to pass provided an agreement can be reached between the city and Sitt, who owns 10.5 of the acres needed.

Sitt said he's willing "to share my sandbox with my friend Mayor Mike," but the city doesn't believe Sitt is qualified to develop the new playland and wants to buy him out so they could choose their own developer.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07212009/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/developer_threatens_citys_coney_island_p_180564.htm

Domenic's press release

I am pleased to announce that, with my support, the Land Use Committee passed a broad, sweeping and ambitious rezoning plan that will reshape Coney Island and return the iconic neighborhood to the prestige of its past.

Coney Island today lacks year-round jobs and necessary infrastructure. It has limited amusements and properties that have fallen fallow. This project is as an opportunity to provide necessary amenities to the 50,000 people who call Coney Island home, including year-round jobs paying livable wages and affordable housing, as well as improvements to the amusement and entertainment areas for the millions who visit Coney Island.

One of my goals in this project was to make sure that those who had stayed in the community during the tough times were respected in any plan that went forward. I am happy to report that the owners of the Wonder Wheel are supportive of the project. The owners of Gargiulo’s have also had input into the redevelopment, and are pleased about their continued future in Coney Island. I have had countless discussions with all of the stakeholders, and listened to hours of testimony at public hearings both here and in Coney Island.

I would like to have been able to expand the area available for open amusements, and I have been actively discussing this with the administration. Those discussions have been fruitful and are ongoing. I hope that by the time the entire City Council votes on this plan, on July 29th, I will have great news for everyone. But I am confident that this project, as it currently stands, is good for the city, good for Brooklyn and great for Coney Island.

Similarly, I know that there are those who would like to see lower buildings on the south side of Surf Avenue. We just couldn’t make this work and will be moving forward with project that you see today.

The trade off has been worth it: We’re getting a first-class amusement park, the long-awaited new gym for P.S. 188, infrastructure work to improve the bad drainage and sewer problems that have plagued the peninsula, a new skating rink in Coney Island that will continue to serve the hockey leagues as well as local residents and their families, new affordable housing opportunities including exciting home ownership opportunities along with funds to assist in mortgage down payments, and funds for the renovation of the Boardwalk and Dreier-Offerman Park. The city is also working with us to explore building a new school, and has set aside land for that purpose.

The administration has made commitments to encourage local hiring, to provide training for local residents in the food service and hospitality industries, and long-term strategies to help address the high rates of unemployment in the community. With all of these new visitors to Coney Island, it is important that we have a first class trauma and emergency room to handle any emergencies. The administration is committed to upgrading and modernizing the facilities at Coney Island Hospital to handle the capacities of the current and future residents and visitors.

As I’ve said all along, it’s impossible to make everyone 100 percent happy. This plan accomplishes the goal of making everyone happy enough that we can move forward together toward a revitalized Coney Island. I would like to thank my colleagues for voting in favor of this plan. By doing so, we take the first steps toward restoring the glamour, the glory and the greatness of Coney Island.

http://drecchia.com/2009/07/21/land-use-approves-coney-island-rezoning/

NY Observer - Deal with Thor within reach

Excerpt -

With regard to Mr. Sitt, after on-again, off-again discussions, the landlord seems to feel that a deal acceptable to him is within reach, according to multiple people familiar with talks. He is now negotiating with the Bloomberg administration for the city to buy a large portion of his property, leaving him a portion to sell or develop. He paid about $100 million over the past half decade to buy up the bulk of the land in the central amusement area.

http://www.observer.com/2009/real-estate/bloomberg%E2%80%99s-coney-plan-passes-hurdle

Also from the article

This afternoon, the Council’s Land Use Committee voted 13-2 in favor of the rezoning plan, which would turn vacant lots now zoned for amusements into residential; and would allow some hotels, retail and indoor amusements in the central amusement area of the historic, if grungy, entertainment hub.

Newsday- Joe Sitt talks

AP Excerpt

Two New York City Council committees have voted in favor of a Coney Island renewal plan spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Tuesday's votes move the renewal plan closer to a full vote by the entire council next week.

A private developer who owns land the city needs to redevelop the amusement area by the Brooklyn boardwalk says it can't be rehabbed without him.

Developer Joe Sitt says that the almost 11 acres he owns there are his "sandbox." Sitt says he hopes to play a role with the city in the future of
Coney Island.

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-nyconey0722,0,7186119.story

Early reports from City Hall Council Meeting

Looks like a modification on no Parkland for Wonder Wheel and a modification on Wonder Wheel Way. Hotels stay south of Surf.

More later tonight.

Bloomberg in the Daily News

Excerpt -

Late yesterday, both sides said they were close to working out a deal in time for a vote this morning.

"We're very close, I think," Bloomberg said, but he cautioned the city couldn't pay for everything Recchia and other advocates are demanding.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2009/07/21/2009-07-21_pol_warns_i_may_kill_coney_deal.html

Monday, July 20, 2009

Domenic Flexes Muscle Before Tomorrow's Vote

Go Domenic!

WNYC excerpt

Councilman Domenic Recchia represents Coney Island. He wants the Bloomberg administration to increase funding for the Coney Island hospital and make sure the rezoning provides well-paying jobs for community residents.

RECCHIA: I will kill this plan, if my constituents are not taken care of.

http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/137038

Council Vote Tomorrow - Coney For All Demonstration!

Brooklyn Eagle Excerpt -

Demonstration by Coney For All Coalition Set Tuesday at 250 Broadway
By Linda Collins Brooklyn Daily Eagle


CONEY ISLAND — The City Council and its Land Use Committee and Zoning Subcommittee postponed their votes Monday on the Coney Island Redevelopment Plan, reportedly because members did not have all the “necessary details.”

The discussion and votes are now scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 21, at City Hall in Manhattan. According to a source who attended Monday’s meeting, they postponed the vote, “blaming the administration for the delay and for not lining up all the necessary details in time.”

Additionally, Council Member Dominic Recchia called on Deputy Mayor Ronald Lieber to meet later Monday and finalize details before this morning’s vote, according to the source.


“Hopefully the extra day allows the city and council to address the glaring omissions in job and housing guarantees that are essential for revitalizing the community,” said Matt Ryan of New York Jobs With Justice, one of the Coney Island For All Coalition members, in response to the postponement.

The coalition, a labor and community coalition representing some 250,000 New Yorkers, is planning a rally at 10 a.m. prior to the scheduled voting across from City Hall in front of 250 Broadway.

Their goal is to ensure the Coney Island plan creates the good jobs, affordable housing, amusements and infrastructure the community needs.
Other coalition members include ACORN, New York Hotel Trades Council, Pratt Center for Community Development, 32BJ SEIU, RWDSU and UFCW.


http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=5&id=29631

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Videos - Domenic speaks with CI CLEAR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwf5lHaQSks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY5ou1WcvCo

Siren Festival Today

150,000 Hipsters expected in Coney Island today! Coney Rocks Brooklyn!

http://siren.villagevoice.com/siren/

The Big Questions remains

With the City Council Rezoning decision pending do Thor and the City deal, or does Thor hold?

Is there a middle of the road deal out there before Rezoning?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Now we have a real political chess match happening

The neighborhood residents (through the Unions and ACORN) have become just as involved in this rezoning as Thor and the city.

An amazing end game to Rezoning! Negotiations all over the map!

Unions and Acorn have stepped up to the plate AGAIN!

NY Observer excerpt -

Seems like the Bloomberg administration has yet to win over unions and housing advocacy group ACORN on its Coney Island plan.

The Observer got a letter on Friday night addressed to members of the City Council from a number of important unions and ACORN that urges the members to withhold support of the plan—a multibillion-dollar redevelopment of the historic entertainment hub—without changes to labor and housing issues.

“The window of opportunity for the City Council to make these important changes is closing fast,” the groups wrote. “Before this project is approved by the Land Use Committee and the entire body of the City Council, we ask you to modify the plan.”

The groups have been key to support of the plan—multiple Council Members have strongly pushed for a deal to satisfy concerns of the politically powerful unions—which a Council subcommittee is tentatively scheduled to vote on Monday.

http://www.observer.com/2009/real-estate/unions-acorn-push-council-concessions-coney-island-clock-ticks

Thursday, July 16, 2009

One can really sense

that something big is about to break very soon. There are so many moving parts to this it's incredible! Everybody is searching for the deal.

NY Observer - Lots of Negotiations

Excerpt -

At the center, still, is Joe Sitt, the chairman of landlord Thor Equities who owns about 5 acres of land in the central amusement district that the city wants to control. He and his team have been meeting with top officials at City Hall for three straight days now in an attempt to strike a deal where the city takes a portion of or the entire piece of land. At least as of earlier Thursday afternoon, there was no deal. The local councilman, Domenic Recchia, has long been pressing for a resolution on this issue before a City Council vote.

There are the labor issues, as a large set of unions (32BJ; the Hotel & Motel Trades Council) each wants wage and other guarantees over future development, and, while everyone involved seems to think deals are likely, they aren’t there yet.

“Everything is fluid,” a union official involved in the discussion said. The Council is responsive to these concerns, particularly as election season nears, when union endorsements can be very helpful in contested elections.

There’s ACORN, the housing group, which is in the midst of negotiating a deal with the city over below-market-rate housing in the area.

http://www.observer.com/2009/real-estate/talk-no-short-supply-vote-nears-coney

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Coney Rezoning should be completed in a few weeks

I really wonder when all is said and done in August and rezoning is behind us, what in the world will the Nimbys complain about next? LOL

After Rezoning things may become so quiet.............

Saturday, July 11, 2009

From CI CLEAR

Next CLEAR Community Meeting will be Wednesday July 22nd at 7PM. The location is to be determined.

I will post when location is announced. CLEAR is also working on a Community Benefits Agreement for Coney Development. I am hoping a Year Round Jobs provision will be included for the neighborhood.

Community Meeting for Jobs and Affordable Housing - ACORN

From Acorn -

Tuesday - July 14th 6:30 PM

United Community Baptist Church at 2701 Mermaid Ave

Remember - With Coney rezoning there must be community agreements for Affordable Housing and Jobs

Friday, July 10, 2009

Recchia talks rezoning in the Bay News

Excerpt -

As for Sitt, Recchia said he is confident the city can find a way to “work with Thor Equities or purchase their property for a reasonable price.”

Contrary to the way Sitt is often portrayed as an opportunistic speculator more interested in cashing in than building a new 21st century amusement park, Recchia says that he has a strong commitment from Sitt to develop a new park.

Failing a resolution with the city, Recchia said that he supports an alternative solution calling for the creation of a special Coney Island amusement district that could be established “without hurting anybody.”

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2009/07/10/coney_island/bay_news/news/bay_news_newswuxgyae07082009.txt

ConeyRocks now on Twitter

You can now begin to follow ConeyRocks on Twitter as well as YahooGroups

http://twitter.com/coneyrocks
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coneyisland2/

July 27th not July 13th

Looks like from the City Council Calendar that they are meeting July 27th to discuss Coney and not July 13th. Perhaps they are giving Thor and the City more time to discuss the issues. So probable modifications come July 27th with final zoning in August. Just putting the rezoning puzzle pieces together.

http://www.nyccouncil.info/html/calendar/calendar_new.cfm

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Update 2 - Council Meeting

Posted on the City Council Website calendar -

Zoning & Franchises Tony Avella, Chair
Monday, July 27, 9:30 AM Committee Room - City Hall Details: See Land Use Calendar Available Wednesday, July 22, 2009, in Room 5 City Hall

Update

This morning's Bay News quotes Recchia as saying Thor and the city are back at the table and "communicating" again. What that means, who knows??

Also still no update on a Monday Council meeting on the City Council website. Perplexing.

Wheelings and Dealings - Domenic stated they are already close to a deal on parking.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Daily News Editorial on Coney

Before I post the link let my preface it by saying I actually believe this zoning has a good chance to get through if the Council takes out the parkland stipulation and increases the retail space to make it more year round. I expect good news next Monday.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/07/06/2009-07-06_how_to_save_coney_island_council_must_preserve_the_peoples_playground.html#ixzz0KUf8QQGh&D

Friday, July 3, 2009

Marty's Summer Concerts at Coney

BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT MARTY MARKOWITZ HOSTS
THE 31st ANNUAL SEASIDE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES

All SHOWS FREE! Blondie, Pat Benatar, Hall & Oates, Donna Summer and More!

http://www.brooklynconcerts.com/seaside.html

Outdoor Summer Movies at Aviator Arena

Aviator Sports and Events Center
Presents
Community Night @ The Movies

Aviator Sports and Events Center would like to invite you to
Night at the Movies.

Come see some of today’s biggest hits under the stars.
Movie Starts @ 9PM
Admission: We ask for a donation of a can of food per person.
Canned food collections will be distributed by local food banks

July 7th – Kung-Fu Panda

July 14th – Hotel for Dogs

July 21st – IronMan

http://www.aviatorsports.com/content/sports-activities/upcoming-events/night-at-the-movies.aspx

CIDC Bused in Supporters to the Meeting

NY Observer Excerpt -

But for a City Council hearing on Coney Island on Wednesday, the Bloomberg administration bused in supporters of its own plan, only to provoke sharp criticism from the Council, as members alleged a misuse of taxpayer funds.

Toward the end of the exhausting hearing—the eight-hour-plus event examined the administration’s plans to redevelop the amusement area—Councilman Simcha Felder asked a person testifying in favor of the city’s plan how he got to the hearing, and learned he had been bused in by the Coney Island Development Corporation, according to multiple people at the hearing. That organization is an economic development arm of city government that focuses on the development and implementation of the Bloomberg plan.

Upon further questioning of a city official, CIDC president Lynn Kelly, the council members were told that the city had three buses running to bring people to the hearing, a fact that did not sit will with at least two council members in attendance. Those members, Mr. Felder and Councilman Robert Jackson, questioned why city funds should go toward lobbying the Council for the administration’s own proposal, particularly as the members said they are barred from using their own discretionary money to fund similar acts. The CIDC promoted the hearing, urging its supporters to testify in its favor.

http://www.observer.com/2009/real-estate/boost-its-coney-island-plan-bloomberg-administration-buses-supporters-city-council-

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 13th Council Hearing

Looks like we are going to get modifications! Beautiful!

Brooklyn Paper excerpts

Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial plan to redevelop Coney Island came under a blistering attack from a hostile City Council committee on Wednesday.

It was a theatrical spectacle as members of the Land Use and Franchise Committee badgered Bloomberg administration officials on the details of a plan to rezone a large area between the Cyclone roller coaster and the Keyspan Park minor-league baseball stadium to build a theme park, hotels, and attractions, plus 4,500 apartments.

The committee, following the lead of Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island) who was shouting from the start, aggressively questioned Bloomberg’s emissaries on the possible use of eminent domain to acquire land for the proposed city-owned amusement park and the plan’s need for accompanying legislation in dysfunctional Albany.

Recchia insisted that the city directly say if it would condemn land — specifically, the 10-1/2 acres owned by his friend, Joe Sitt — to pursue its transformation of the shrinking amusement area.

“This is reality. This is not a hypothetical. This is my community,” Recchia yelled at Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
“Yes or no?” Recchia insisted.


The plan ran into additional trouble with the committee, which was almost entirely critical of the mayor’s proposal, over a technical issue requiring state legislation.

The portion of the plan, which calls for housing on what is now the Keyspan Stadium parking lot and currently mapped as parkland, would require state approval so it can be used for residential development.
But so far, no Albany lawmaker has been willing to introduce a bill to do just that.

“It’s almost as if the entire project is dependent on a body that you have no support in,” Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D–Queens) told Pinsky.

Another hearing on the mayor’s redevelopment plan for Coney Island is tentatively scheduled for 10 am on Monday, July 13, at City Hall (Broadway at Chambers Street in Manhattan).

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/27/32_27_mm_coney.html



Coney Community Benefits Meeting - July 7th

Got this from Brian Gotlieb

Dear Friends,

I am writing to invite you to attend Coney Island Clear's next meeting on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. The meeting will be held at Public School 329 -- 2929 West 30th Street (between Mermaid and Surf Avenues) -- and run from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. The subject of the meeting will be "Community Benefit Agreements" and how we can make sure that our community receives the maximum benefit from the upcoming redevelopment of Coney Island.

Please feel free to forward the annexed meeting notice to anyone that you think might be interested in attending the meeting.

Parkland Plan looks like Backdoor Eminent Domain

And the City Council isn't going for it. This plan will not go through with that parkland hanging over it. My guess is the Parkland issue will not exist by the end of July -

Daily News excerpts -

City owns up to Coney Island project potentially requiring eminent domain

The city's
Coney Island plan suffered a major setback Wednesday as officials admitted they had not ruled out the use of eminent domain to acquire land for the project.

The admission, which threatens property owned by developer Thor Equities, came as some City Council members strongly indicated they would vote against the zoning plan this month when it goes before the full Council.

"I'm not saying we will use eminent domain, but in fairness to your question, I'm not saying we won't," said flustered Economic Development Corp. President Seth Pinsky following repeated inquiries about land seizure from Council members.

"Despite stating on record that the city will not use eminent domain, we actually have been put on official notice by the city of their potential use of eminent domain to take Thor's property, said Thor lawyer Jesse Masyr.

Meanwhile, several Council members - including mayoral hopeful Tony Avella, Simcha Felder and Helen Sears - suggested they would vote against the plan at a July 29 City Council session.

"I'm recommending to turn this down," said Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island), echoing others.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2009/07/02/2009-07-02_city_owns_up_to_coney_island_project_potentially_requiring_.html#ixzz0K6eziwPf&D

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Possible compromise plan in the works?

From the same NY Observer article -

The city has been battling to buy Mr. Sitt’s land for about $100 million, though he has resisted, saying he would lose about $30 million in investment at the site. As no deal has emerged—though the two sides have discussed a compromise proposal with a smaller acquisition—Mr. Sitt and his attorney, Jesse Masyr, have pushed these and other points in an attempt to salvage some value in his property, which he paid over $100 million to assemble.

http://www.observer.com/2009/real-estate/coney-island-fight-recchia-backs-developer-joe-sitt-over-bloomberg?page=1

NY Observer - In Coney Island Fight, Recchia Backs Developer Joe Sitt Over Bloomberg

Excerpt -

For years now, the Bloomberg administration has been pushing a plan to redevelop Coney Island, trying to ensure its approval in the City Council amid resistance from the amusement district’s main landowner, Joe Sitt. Now, as the Council approaches a vote on the plan in coming weeks, one major line of resistance is emerging: Domenic Recchia, the area’s councilman, is siding with Mr. Sitt on almost all of the developer's key points, threatening the administration’s proposal.

Mr. Recchia has been generally supportive of Mr. Sitt’s arguments with the city for at least a year now, but at a Wednesday Council hearing, he seemed to stake out a position of clear opposition on a number of topics. At the hearing, Mr. Recchia aimed pointed questions at city officials, many of which matched the set of talking points that Mr. Sitt and his consultants have been reciting in recent weeks, both privately and publicly.

Mr. Recchia’s questions, voiced in a frustrated and at times angry tone, set the stage for a showdown with the Bloomberg administration over its plan, which imagines thousands of new apartments and year-round indoor amusements to accompany a revitalized outdoor amusement zone.

Specifically, he made clear his rejection of the administration’s proposal to classify a portion of the site—including Mr. Sitt’s property—as parkland. That would allow the use of eminent domain on Mr. Sitt’s land (though that’s not the city’s stated intention) and clear the way for more housing on another portion of the site. Mr. Sitt has pushed this point, as his land would presumably be far less valuable and developable with the potential cloud of eminent domain hovering over it, an argument that has won the ear of
Mr. Recchia and key elected officials in Albany.

http://www.observer.com/2009/real-estate/coney-island-fight-recchia-backs-developer-joe-sitt-over-bloomberg?page=0

Ziggy made a brilliant move today

We didn't stay for the whole meeting but when they had the landowners up their testifying Ziggy basically stated to Domenic he is willing to work with Recchia in whatever way possible to see this rezoning move forward in a reasonable way and praised Recchia endlessly to the point of appointing him Congressman Recchia. It was a brilliant move and hopefully a move that will get Coney rezoned in a year round way where EVERYONE will be happy. Thor, Recchia, EDC, Amusement, and all of Coney - jobs and housing. Maybe people can all work on the same side now. I pray. I have my doubts but I hope!

Great Job! Ziggy acknowledged Recchia's power here and embraced it. I was totally impressed. Take care folks! Compromise may happen after all. Final Zoning by July 29th!