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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Real Deal - Q&A with Joe Sitt

Excerpt -

You have squabbled with the city over this land since 2005, when you began to buy it. Over that time, the surviving amusement park section shrunk to a shell of its former self. How does it feel for this deal to be completed?

Yes. It feels really good, because when you work hard, you want to see something moving forward. This is an incredible opportunity to be partners with the city government to create one of the most talked about real-estate development in the United States in decades.

Initially, your plan called for a $1.5 billion mix of time-share hotels and a glass-enclosed water park, in what many compared with Las Vegas. Now that you will be squeezed into a smaller plot, what will it be? Will it look like the old renderings?

We have to redo all of our plans, but we will still have millions and millions of square feet of apartments and hotels and retail and restaurants and enclosed amusements. Yes, it will still have the Las Vegas component to it. The latter versions of the renderings are close to what it will be.

Earlier this year, the city offered to buy 10.45 acres of your holdings there for $105 million, which works out to about $229 a square foot. Now, the city has paid $320 a foot. That's a big increase. And that's close to what Manhattan land sold for at the peak. How did you do it?

Today's focus is not about the dollars. I'm happy, but that's not my main focus. My happiness is having a partner in the city of New York and a commitment of dollars to getting something done there.

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