Coney Island With A Brooklyn Attitude!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
There is no doubt Coney desperately needs rezoning. The place is a ghost town 9 months a year. The press and the blogs tie in to the few Nimbys who want Coney to remain just a summer destination and don't give a shit that the neighborhood suffers the rest of the year with high unemployment, high crime and is basically deserted during the winter for the last half century.
Where do we go from here? From a business perspective why would Thor sell the land to the city at an undervalued price when there is a chance Anthony Weiner may be elected as mayor in less that 10 months time? I expect zoning to move forward with lots of yelling and screaming but will be approved by September of this year. I don't believe Thor will come to a deal on the land with the city before the elections. Parkland has to be decided by June and I don't believe Recchia and the State Legislature will let it happen. But I certainly do believe rezoning will happen this year.
CONEY ISLAND—Because a day doesn't go by without some sort of bizarre bit of news emanating from the southern tip of Brooklyn, an update now on thefutureofconeyisland.com—a Thor Equities-backed pro-redevelopment website that then became a Belgian porn site that then...eh, a bunch more crazy stuff happened. Anyway, the domain was recently auctioned off, and a tipster tell us how it all went down: "The auction of thefutureofconeyisland.com has come and passed. There were seven bidders, and eventually the site was won by a bidder who paid $600 for it. This bidder is now known to be Thor Equities." TWIST!
Just as Washington is planning an infusion of spending on construction and infrastructure, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a substantial cutback that would shrink the city’s five-year capital plan by more than $6 billion, or 30 percent.
What’s in the capital plan? Money goes to roads, police stations, economic development projects (such as revitalization of Coney Island and the development of Atlantic Yards). These cuts to the plan come on top of what equated to a 20 percent reduction enacted last year, which spread out the four-year plan into five years.
Now you have to ask if there will be the money to buy Coney land???
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thank you very much! You're a beautiful audience
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Feb 25th - Brighton Beach Rezoning - Meeting at CI Hospital Auditorium
March 3rd - Coney Rezoning Hearing - Meeting at Lincoln High School Auditorium.
There are supposed to be 2 Board Hearings for Coney. The Community Board deadline for their recommendation is March 30th. The March 3rd hearing is a tentative date thus far, but I expect there will be 2 hearings in March. Then it goes through Marty, City Planning, and City Council, with a bunch more public meetings.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
More evidence that Thor may very well wait this out.
Village Voice excerpts
So this morning's announcement by the city of a major press conference on "Coney Island redevelopment" at noon, featuring everyone from deputy mayor Robert Lieber to Rep. Jerry Nadler, provided a rare jolt of excitement. Had Thor Equities agreed to sell out to the city at last? Was Astroland moving to the old Thunderbolt site? The Parachute Jump reopening with federal stimulus money? What, what?
The answer, it can now be revealed: Carol Hill Albert is donating the Astroland rocket to the city, which will put it in storage. And then do something with it. Someday. Maybe.
This, apparently, is how far the never-ending three-way battle of wills between the city, developer Thor Equities, and amusement fans has sunk. With its rezoning process about to kick off, both Thor and the Municipal Art Society criticizing them in opposite directions, and the prospect of a Thor-friendly Weiner administration looming, the Bloomberg administration has to be figuring it needs all the good press it can muster; as one Coneyite muttered this morning about today's media event, "It's all they've got."
Quite interesting that the prospect of a Weiner administration is mentioned in this article again. Thor may very well wait this rezoning out through the November elections and then negotiate afterwards.
The rocket ship was donated to the city by Carol Hill Albert and her husband, Jerome, whose family operated the Astroland amusement park for 47 years until it closed in 2008.
“My husband, Jerome, and I are heartened to know that the city will be displaying the rocket in a prominent location as part of the new Coney Island where it can continue to educate and entertain,” said Ms. Albert in a statement.
My guess is this artifact ends up in Steeplechase Plaza
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
An auction was held yesterday afternoon to liquidate the contents of Gregory & Paul's restaurant, one of the last remaining components that made up Astroland's three-acre space. Gregory & Paul's occupied the corner lot opposite the Cyclone, at Surf Avenue and West 10th Street, and owner Paul Georgoulakos oversaw more than 40 years of warp speed summer seasons catering to hungry beachgoers, selling everything from half-shell clams to cotton candy, funnel cakes to sausages.
The clearing of Coney continues as ULURP begins. (Or ULURP begins because of the clearing of Coney? Think about it.)
Monday, January 26, 2009
Marcie and I saw him perform 12 times in one year back in the 80s. We saw him about 10 days ago at Nokia. It was fantastic! Pure Brooklyn!
Dice will be on Celebrity Apprentice in March. Long live the Diceman!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
In an instance of strange bedfellows, Markowitz’s amphitheater, is supported by Dick Zigun, the founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, and the Bloomberg Administration. Both say the bandshell will draw visitors to the area and could contribute to an amusement and entertainment renaissance in the People’s Playground.
It’s unusual to find them in agreement since an abrupt separation last year in which the so-called Mayor of Coney Island resigned from the city agency overseeing Bloomberg’s plans, Zigun emerged as a harsh critic of the city’s controversial redevelopment policy, which is in the early phases of a lengthy public review.
Will the lemmings follow? I picture spinning heads.
The story: Developers plan to revamp the Brooklyn waterfront, and Mayor Bloomberg insists their plan "protects and preserves the unique character of Coney Island while bringing new housing, shops and recreational facilities."
In other words: We're making a nice place where people will actually want to live. And - if only to shut up the whining natives who cling to their junk like a cat with a dead mouse - we'll keep some of the old pieces of crap.
Friday, January 23, 2009
While city officials readily acknowledge City Councilmember Domenic Recchia as having played an integral part in redevelopment efforts thus far, he remains a powerful opponent of aspects of the plan – mainly because he says some Coney Island property owners are unhappy with it.
“I am negotiating with the city on the whole rezoning,” Recchia said. “There are certain issues that we’re trying to resolve.”In addition to those unhappy property owners, Recchia says that the parking component of the city’s plan also has many flaws.
Despite the differences, city officials insist that they will not preclude any developer interested in re-imagining Coney Island in the future -- just as long as they conform to the zoning they hope to enact.According to Kelly, that could including everyone from Joe Sitt to Carol Albert.
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Albert said, looking at long-term redevelopment.
Astroland’s operator has a much more immediate deadline looming at the end of the month when her lease with Thor Equities expires and she is forced to clear the 3.1 acre site that had housed Astroland Amusement Park for over 45 years. It now appears that the iconic Astro Tower may have to be left behind to an uncertain fate.“We offered to donate it to various places,” Albert said. “It is a not an easy item to accommodate. You can’t put this in your backyard.”
Thor Equities did not respond to requests for comment about the Astro Tower’s fate.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
It was also interesting to read Lynn Kelly say that Joe Sitt could be included in the development. Very rare to read that. I will post the article when its online.
We all know this is going to come down to the parkland issue.
Either way, the land acquisition costs could be staggering.
In addition, the city plan calls for rezoning part of Coney Island’s amusement zone as a nine-acre parkland zone. City officials say that parkland zoning provides for additional state oversight — but that nine-acre park is being created only because nine acres of existing parkland, mostly a parking lot for Keyspan Park, would be demapped as parkland to create the residential towers of Coney West.
The fact that parkland can be transferred so easily raises questions about whether the nine-acre parkland amusement zone would remain a theme park should a future mayor seek a different course for Coney Island.
The paper got the parkland issue wrong. It will be anything but easy getting it through the State Legislature and the City Council
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The current C7 amusement zoning is highly restrictive and has prevented new, investment in complimentary year-round uses, according to Burden.
“This once vibrant area is now nearly devoid of economic activity once the summer amusement season is over,” she said.
Finally we are getting to the real issue here!
Yahoo groups board
And here is the timeline update for ULURP. Note that CB13 review must be completed by March 30th
"We remain committed to Coney Island in the long term and fully intend to maintain our historic flagship restaurant, which has been the heart of the company since it was established in 1916," he said.
He was responding to language in the city document that states: "Nathan's Famous restaurant . . . is assumed to be replaced under the proposed actions."
City officials said they hope Nathan's will take advantage of the rezoning and expand the site, with possibilities including a sit-down restaurant, catering service or even a hot dog-themed ride.
So it looks like Nathan's will be expanding like the rest of Coney. Bigger is Better!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
About a half-dozen people silently protested the city’s proposal during the meeting, holding up signs that read, “Save Coney Island. Preserve C7 Amusement Zoning.”
Rumors are for the next protest 3 dogs a cat and a stripper will show up as well.
Remember the Nimbys are desperate and grasping at any ludicrous ideas of alternative zonings. Don't believe the hype.
Change is coming to Coney :)
It will run concurrently with Coney ULURP!
Dear Residents and Friends of Coney Island:
I am writing with some very exciting news.
The City Planning Commission today certified the submission of the City's comprehensive redevelopment and rezoning plan. This marks the beginning of a very important public review process otherwise know as ULURP (the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) that will take place over the next seven months -- a process that will include reviews by the Community Board, the Borough President, the City Planning Commission, and the City Council, as well as many opportunities for public comment and testimony. We have worked extremely hard over the past several years to get to this point -- and we are grateful for the incredibly important input and guidance we have received from countless Coney Island residents and leaders -- and now look forward to laying the groundwork for a true renaissance in Coney Island.
In the next few weeks, we'll be in touch with more information about the review calendar and about how you can participate. But in the meantime, I wanted to make sure you were aware of this important step, and let you know that you can always reach us with any questions. In addition, you can check the Department of City Planning's website for updated information and you can download documents related to the environmental review process for the project at the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination website. And of course we will continue to update the CIDC's website to keep you informed as the project moves forward.
Thanks for your dedication to Coney Island. I look forward to working with you in the coming months.
However, the city has been negotiating with Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, one of the main landowners in the area, and made little progress. Those talks have now stalled and the city's rezoning plan may not get them re-started.
"Despite being the largest landowner in the area that the city is proposing to rezone, Thor has yet to see the city's plan,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Mr. Sitt. “We will withhold any comment until we carefully review the city's material."
"As it was on that site, that's done. It's over. That much is painfully apparent," said Albert. About 22 rides and the memorable rocketship have been moved to an undisclosed storage facility until a new location can be found. "But," she said, "Astroland as a business is not done."
Albert reportedly has been involved in discussions with a park operator to bring Astroland to Australia's Gold Coast, a beachside tourist destination drawing 10 million visitors each year.
As the city prepares to revive the ailing amusement district to allow for rides, retail and housing, Albert also said she will seek out a nearby location in Coney Island for Astroland once new zoning is established.
"It may be an unrealistic hope but I'm hopeful that with the new zoning there might be a way for Astroland to make a bid to come back," said Albert, adding reopening Astroland in Coney Island wouldn't happen for at least two years.
A board-free boardwalk is taking shape on Coney Island - and a lot of New Yorkers don't like it.
Dilapidated portions of the famed Boardwalk are being replaced with plastic planks instead of wood under a pilot program. "This is a historic Boardwalk," said Maria Ovold, 50, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn."They don't need to replace it - they need to preserve it."
Thor Equities, a development group that controls much of the area's land, declined comment, saying it had not yet closely reviewed the proposal.
The plan calls for 4,500 new apartments, including 900 units of affordable housing, 800 hotel rooms and blocks of glitzy stores along Surf Ave. Attractions may include virtual reality rides, IMAX theaters and a tattoo parlor. The public hearing process, officially the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure for Revitalization of Coney Island, calls for a series of hearings.
NY Post excerpt
The Nathan's site - which opened at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in 1916 - could make way for more lucrative development should land values skyrocket once the rezoning is approved.
"Nathan's Famous restaurant . . . is assumed to be replaced under the proposed actions with a new building containing hotel, amusement, retail and enhancing uses," according to the city document.
Monday, January 19, 2009
The City is proposing to acquire privately owned properties on Blocks 7074, 8694, 8695, and
8696 located both within and outside of the area to be mapped as parkland to facilitate the
development of a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district. Private properties proposed for redevelopment would be acquired only through negotiation. Private properties proposed for mapped parkland or streets would be acquired through sale or land transfer or could be acquired by condemnation, as necessary.
The proposed open amusement area would be located south of Wonder Wheel Way up to the
Boardwalk between Steeplechase Plaza and the Cyclone roller coaster. The blocks and portions of the blocks between Surf Avenue and Bowery would be developed with hotel, enclosed amusements, eating and drinking establishments, and small-scale accessory retail uses. Blocks located between the existing Bowery and the proposed Wonder Wheel Way would be developed with uses limited to enclosed amusements, eating and drinking establishments, and retail.
Tower location and heights would be limited on the development sites. Towers would be
allowed at limited locations for buildings fronting on Surf Avenue and would set back to respect the historic scale of the Bowery. Heights would be limited at lower levels for the buildings fronting on Wonder Wheel Way to provide a transition to the open amusement area. Heights would decrease eastward from West 16th Street towards the Cyclone roller coaster at West 10th Street.
Special District regulations would also include measures to facilitate the provision of on-site and off-site parking spaces. The expansion of the buildable area in the Coney East subdistrict (from that presented in the January 2008 Draft Scope) would increase the capacity for on-site parking.
Block 7074 between the proposed West 16th Street and West 15th Street, which is the largest
block in Coney East, has the capacity to accommodate up to 200 spaces in an above-ground
structured parking garage located at the core of the building. The garage would have to be
wrapped on Surf Avenue, West 15th Street and Wonder Wheel Way by active uses. The Special District text would also allow parking spaces to be satisfied on sites located within an expanded radius from the development. Two sites have been identified as potential sites for parking garages for the amusement park and beach-related uses: Block 7069, Lot 14 located outside rezoning area between West 25th Street and West 27th Street, and Block 8697, Lot 8, which is currently occupied by a surface parking lot for the Aquarium and is located within the rezoning area. These two sites have the capacity to accommodate up to 340 and 400 parking spaces, respectively.
Provisions to encourage the development of public parking spaces in the Coney North subdistrict would also be developed within the Special District regulations. These provisions are described in more details in the section below. It is estimated that up to 300 additional public parking spaces could be accommodated in the Coney North blocks.
Coney Island Rezoning Plan: Notice of Completion Issued for Draft Environmental Impact Statement – January 16, 2009
Comprehensive Coney Island Plan; zoning map and zoning text amendments; city map
amendment; acquisition of property and UDAAP designation, project approval and
disposition of c-o-p. (K13)
Brighton Beach Rezoning; zoning map and zoning text amendments. (K13)
Looks like we will have concurrent ULURPS going on here. Rezoning for both neighborhoods makes a ton of sense to bring the area back. It is also worth noting that Sheepshead Bay got rezoned about 3 years ago, so you can easily see that Bloomberg has big plans for bringing back all of South Brooklyn by the Sea. Things are looking up!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
But Bloomberg's rezonings always go through, so Coney will be no different. It will be interesting to see the Nimby and Blog reaction in September, because the only thing left to talk about will be the development schedule. Zoning won't be an issue anymore. Ownership maybe, but not zoning.
I believe we may get a ULURP announcement this coming week. Here is Kelly's piece
Saturday, January 17, 2009
FLATBUSH — The Princeton Review announced yesterday that Brooklyn College was ranked in its 100 “Best Value Colleges” for 2009.
The Princeton Review, one of America’s most widely known education services and test-prep companies, teamed up with USA Today to present the list, which featured 50 public and 50 private colleges and universities.
The Princeton Review selected these institutions as its “best value” choices for 2009 based on its surveys of administrators and students at more than 650 public and private colleges and universities. The selection criteria covered more than 30 factors in three areas: academics, costs of attendance, and financial aid, using the most recently reported data from each institution for its 2007-08 academic year.
The survey reported that, “On the gorgeous campus of Brooklyn College, you’ll find a very serious and admirably diverse undergraduate population. Students from virtually every imaginable ethnic origin and age group take advantage of more than 120 majors.”
Friday, January 16, 2009
City Slated To Launch Coney Island Redo
Questions remain over major landowner's property--and whether people will take the N that far out
by Eliot Brown 1:00 PM January 16, 2009
The Bloomberg administration’s plans to remake Coney Island are slated to take a major step forward on Tuesday, as the city intends to launch its rezoning for the historic amusement site. Revitalizing the decaying entertainment destination has been a top priority for the mayor’s economic development team, which has well over $100 million budgeted for the project.
While the date is not yet final—a spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning said the city is “working to finalize” required environmental review documents—the Planning Department’s Web site shows the project on a draft agenda for a Tuesday meeting that would launch the public review. The seven-month public approval process involves a series of community meetings and requires the City Council's assent.
The plan calls for turning a portion of the area that once housed amusements—now vacant sites or parking lots—into apartment buildings and hotels, while creating a new core of entertainment with indoor and outdoor amusements. The plan is a relatively optimistic one, as it attempts to transform an area that sits a lengthy subway ride away from Manhattan and has little remaining market for amusements into a thriving, year-round destination with water parks, luxury apartments and hundreds of hotel rooms.
Obviously this is a "rezone or else" strategy that Thor is using and thus far it seems to be working quite effectively, as the city's rezoning plan has moved closer to Thor's plan in the last 2 years. A point totally missed by that post.
I am really starting to wonder why Gowanus Lounge even posts about Coney Island at all. They seem to be so out of touch with what is really going on here in South Brooklyn.
In any case, as I stated last summer, there will be very little left of the old Coney Island when ULURP starts so the question is becoming Save What? And that actually plays into the city hands that rezoning is totally necessary for the area.
Unfortunately rezoning didn't happen 40 years ago as Brooklyn still waits for the area to thrive 12 months a year.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
"This year, in Coney Island, Willets Point, and Hunters Point South, we'll lay the groundwork for thousands of new jobs and affordable homes - all well-served by mass transit."
It's quite obvious to me that the city is going to run into the same obstacles as last year on the parkland issue. The press really has not picked up on the parkland piece yet this year and it really holds the key to eventual ownership of Coney. They have until June to pass the parkland issue and they have to get it through City Council and the Sate Legislature.
Recchia in the council and Kruger in the legislature have tremendous power on whether parkland designation is stopped or goes through.
... And now for something completely useless: The public offers its vision for Coney Island
By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper
With the plans for redeveloping Coney Island mired in conflict among the city, developer Joe Sitt and Boardwalk boosters, the People’s Playground has become an Urban Planner’s Playground.
The Manhattan-based the Municipal Arts Society released its vision for “saving” the People’s Playground, putting out a press release and showing off a series of outrageous (and, like one of the “world’s tallest building” (pictured) and another of a bullet train from Manhattan operating on regular subway lines, unbuildable) renderings of what the group thinks should happen in the hardscrabble amusement zone.
The group’s “Imagine Coney Island” project overlaps with the city’s current plan, in that it also recommends that the Bloomberg Administration buy up land in the amusement zone and calls for new signature rides — though neither the city nor the Municipal Art Society has explained where the money is going to come from.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The city says it will consider the organization's suggestions, but that it would not delay the rezoning process to incorporate any of them. The city's land use review process for the rezoning is expected to kick off next month and take seven months to finish.
The MAS believes the city - not a private developer - should spearhead the rebuilding of Coney Island. Still, some of the images resemble renderings submitted by embattled developer Joe Sitt of Thor Equities for his failed $1.5 billion Vegas-style amusement complex - minus the controversial high-rise condos, of course.
If done right, Coney Island could attract 3.5 million visitors a year and support the retail space, hotels and restaurants that would complement amusements, a spokesman for the art society said.
MAS ideas have no power with no developer behind it. It's like a fantasy world. I don't understand why they are soliciting these ideas so late in the game with no developer to build it??? Glad the city is forging ahead with rezoning.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Anyway its probably the 3 people that post on the CI message boards under 10 different screennames, but its worth a look. Its rather hilarious to read the chapters of pure logic gone wild!
Thor Equities wants to buy more property around Coney Island. Apparently they want to go to battle even more with the mayor.
It will be interesting to see what Coney looks like during the entire 7 months of rezoning.
Monday, January 12, 2009
This is right next to the Caesar's Bay Shopping Center and next door to the proposed BJ's mega shopping development. Right on the Belt.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Developer Joe Sitt of Thor Equities have continually shown they are not gun shy when it came to publicly feuding with key public officials, refusing to budge on the closing of bedraggled, but beloved, landmarks like Astroland or going so far as to engage in putting "FOR LEASE" signs on every building he owns in Coney Island on Christmas Eve. Friends, you have to have some seriously unafraid of controversy cojones for this sort of thing.
Bringing an income-producing venture into the Basin — Phoenix Beverages — to occupy all of the sheds on Pier 11 is a very smart move. It will anchor the basin and will help make other proposed ventures possible. Two of these ventures are a docking facility for New York Water Taxi ferryboats and establishing a cultural presence aboard the Mary Whalen, which could lead to other initiatives.
Any other big-league ventures in Red Hook will have to wait out the economic woes just like everywhere else. But what will probably determine Red Hook’s future is the fate of the waterfront site owned by Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, next to the Beard Street warehouses.
It will be one thing if Sitt goes the IKEA route with a large store, very much another if he moves primarily toward residential development. Making something out of the Atlantic Basin is finally a step in the right direction.
- Thor is negotiating to buy the Thunderbolt lot from Bullard
- ULURP for new zoning is expected to start in February
- Astroland is being completely cleared this month
- Lola Starr is insulting Thor after being evicted for insulting Thor
- Recchia and the City Council may be blocking the parkland designation
- The Nimbys and Blogs are pulling their hair out of their heads
City Drastically Revises Red Hook Waterfront Plans
by Dennis Holt (Holt@brooklyneagle.net), published online 01-06-2009
Beer Distributor Tapped To Take Over Entire Pier
BROOKLYN — The city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is returning to Red Hook’s Atlantic Basin with a symbolic hat in hand, but also with a new development plan that is ready to be executed.
The new plan, called a “balanced strategy,” replaces an earlier plan that suggested more glitz and glamour, but drew few if any responses to request for proposals. That plan was tied in with a more dramatic plan for the piers north of the basin that proved completely impractical.
One company that was a victim of the failed plan, however, is now ready to become a linchpin of the new plan for Atlantic Basin. Phoenix Beverages, a major beer distributor, primarily of Heineken, was supposed to move to Pier 7. Under the new plan, it will now occupy all of Pier 11 and part of another building.
The new strategy for the basin will also include a docking facility for harbor-operated boats, a cultural institution, a green space that will be part of the Brooklyn Greenway, and a home port for the Governors Island ferry. The basin will continue to serve the new cruise terminal on Pier 12, which last season handled 300,000 passengers.
To what can we attribute Boro Park's having become the world's premier Orthodox Jewish neighborhood?
I think there are three probable spiritual explanations. First, Boro Park was probably blessed because of all the mitzvos and maasim tovim done here. In the earliest years, the Jews who first came here were very charitable even though they were not frum. They gave tzedakah and did chesed generously.
Second, the Gemara in Shabbos says one should always seek to dwell in a city that was only recently populated because its sins are few. Boro Park was one of the newer communities in New York City. It had less time to commit the aveiros other communities committed, and maybe that is why it became a city of refuge and was not destroyed like other communities.
Third, Boro Park was a very peaceful and tolerant community. Even though there were different groups, and later on many branches of chassidim living here, they always lived together in peace and harmony. We had Orthodox, Conservative and Reform - and never a real conflict.
We also had different ethnic groups. Everyone who came here accepted the environment, adjusted to it, and didn't try to change it. Shalom, peace, is a great blessing, and that, I think, is the blessing of Boro Park.
What are the current trends in Boro Park?
The population has been greatly increasing and changing. Non-Jews and many Modern Orthodox Jews moved away from the neighborhood, and more chassidic Jews moved in. There is physical and spiritual internal growth. We are much more integrated than other frum communities. We mix more. We daven in each other's shuls more. More and more yeshiva students are opting to sit and learn and not go to college. Girls want to marry boys who are sitting and learning. The community, like Orthodoxy in general, moved to the right in religious commitment and observance.
The chesed and tzedakah endeavors of Boro Park are proliferating. Alongside the increased Torah learning, we have myriad chesed organizations including many bikur cholim societies, Chaverim, numerous gemachs, Hatzolah, Shomrim, just to name a few.
Developer May Scale Back Plan for Nets' Brooklyn Arena
By MATTHEW FUTTERMAN
Developer Bruce Ratner is considering scaling back his ambitious plan for a $1 billion Frank Gehry-designed arena for the New Jersey Nets basketball team in downtown Brooklyn.
Mr. Gehry's design has been one of Mr. Ratner's major selling points as he has battled neighborhood residents and pressed government officials for approvals and subsidies. But now, with the recession and credit crisis in full swing, the Nets and Mr. Ratner are exploring new concepts for the arena that would transform it from an architectural masterpiece into a much less expensive and much more traditional sports venue.
"We are continuing to speak with many arena experts and working hard to find ways to build a world class venue in an incredibly difficult economic environment," the spokesman said.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I know it's hard for you Nimbys to read that statement but you should read it twice. Coney will change to year-round. Bloomberg, Marty, and Recchia all want it to change to year-round.
Coney is being cleared in order to get REZONING TO START! 6 YEARS OF THE CIDC and where is the zoning?
Astroland's lease runs out at the end of this month. Anything on the site reverts to Thor ownership February 1st. So the site is obviously going to be cleared by this month. Coincidently just when City ULURP is set to begin. Maybe not coincidence?
Like I said last summer - Very little of the old Coney Island will be left when rezoning for the new Coney Island begins. What's really left to save? A question everybody has to ask. Even the Nimbys.
Quite obviously you have to look at the parkland piece. Those 9 acres have to go through council and the state and be approved as city parkland, and the Keyspan Park lot would be removed as parkland by the city and state. All this has to happen by June when the state legislature ends its sessions to decide.
This parkland issue is all separate from zoning. Will Recchia let it get through Council and Kruger let it get through the state legislature? What if the current landowners don't want to sell? Will they still make it parkland? Wake up and smell the coffee people!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
City Councilmember Domenic Recchia - who also attended the event - wasn’t so sure. When asked if he supports the city’s efforts to designate parkland and acquire land in the Coney Island amusement district, the councilman representing the 47th District said, “We have our differences.”
Without elaborating, Recchia said that the City Council has its “own plan” and its “own vision” for the area.
“One thing though, Abe Stark has to stay,” Recchia said. “There’s no place for the hockey leagues to play.”The councilman dismissed alternative plans for possibly constructing a new facility somewhere near the Wonder Wheel as unfeasible.
“It can’t be in front of Deno’s,” he said.
Kapur, meanwhile, said that the city remains “neutral” with respect to prospective amusement-themed developers, but cautioned major players that “zoning sets in place what’s appropriate.”
Thor brings its hammer down on Coney Island's Lola Staar
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Updated Thursday, January 8th 2009, 6:16 PM
Lola Staar, the funky, pink-hued clothing boutique and gift shop on Coney Island's Boardwalk has been booted from the fabled seaside strip.
Nearly a dozen Boardwalk businesses had their locks changed Christmas Eve by developer Thor Equities.
But from Nathan's Famous to the legendary dive bar Ruby's, all but Lola Staar are expected to get new leases this month - at double the rent.
Lola Staar proprietor Dianna Carlin believes it was her outspoken criticism of Thor Equities that prompted the developer not to renew her lease, which ended last week.
"No one knows better than me how vicious and evil they are but it still astounds me," said Carlin, who said Thor official Sam Sabin told her, "We're kicking you out. Have a Happy New Year."
Thor spokesman Stefan Friedman insisted most of the businesses would be extended new leases and said all of the storefronts would be filled by the next amusement season.
"Thor has had positive negotiations with a majority of our tenants in Coney Island," said Friedman. "We are confident every single square foot of property that Thor owns in Coney will be open and active next summer."
Question - Did Dianna Carlin seriously believe Thor would keep her as a tenant after she constantly lambasted Thor in the press for how many years now??? What was this woman thinking??? That Thor loves her for what she has said???
With Recchia's and Kapur's quotes from the article one can sense the momentum leaning towards current owners such as Thor. This city parkland issue has until June to play out. It's obviously running into obstacles.
Also noted that Abe Stark rink must stay where it is.
Very interesting indeed. Looks like the parkland piece still will be a very contested issue. I will post the article link when its online.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
On Jan. 7, the Department of City Planning certified plans for a community center proposed for Coney Island, according to Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure is set to begin.
“This is a concrete step toward creating the Coney Island of our dreams, one that thrives year-round and attracts record tourists while retaining the spirit of the community,” said Councilman Recchia.
The community center, located at West 29th St. and Surf Ave., would be a 40,000 square-foot YMCA with affordable housing units.
The center was developed with significant input from the Coney Island residents. It will include a swimming pool, a gymnasium and flexible, multi-purpose spaces for programmed activities. The $56 million project will also include about 150 units of affordable.
Could Thor be in any better position as the rezoning process starts next month, and could Coney be in any better position to GET THE REZONING that's so desperately needed? The Nimbys and Blogs are in stunned disbelief.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Coney Island Planning Moves Forward a Step
by Linda Collins (email@example.com), published online 01-06-2009
Rezoning Plan Could Begin ULURP in February
By Linda Collins Brooklyn Daily Eagle
CONEY ISLAND — The city’s Coney Island Comprehensive Rezoning Plan will soon be heading for its public review process and may be looking at an end-of-summer completion date, according to Lynn Kelly, president of the Coney Island Development Corp.
“The Environmental Impact Statement is almost complete, certifying will come in the next few weeks — possibly by the end of January or early February — and then ULURP [the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] can begin,” said Kelly, speaking at a panel on Coney Island yesterday sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and its Real Estate and Development Committee.
“Following ULURP, we will be issuing an RFP for a developer,” she said.
There are 50,000 residents and a very high unemployment rate (“it’s double the average for the entire city”), according to Kapur.
In addition to the high jobless rate, there are other severe challenges, she said, like a lack of neighborhood retail and services, a lack of diversity in housing options and the seasonality of the area (“it’s desolate except in summer”).
6.8 Million Square Feet of Development Planned
The plan as described by Kapur has the potential for 6.8 million square feet of development to include 1.1 million square feet of amusement and performance space, 500,000 square feet of retail, 950 hotel rooms and 4,500 units of housing with 900 of those affordable.
Just a note, but can you believe Lynn Kelly actually stating the city will be putting out an RFP for a developer when Thor is going after the Thunderbolt lot in addition to all their other holdings in Coney? LOL Lynn Kelly's quotes are hilarious sometimes. Get in the real world Lynn! If Thor gets that lot its game, set, and match. No more to argue at all.
I do actually believe the city zoning plan is not too bad on the whole though. Very similar to Thor's plan.
Bullard, who’s owned the land bounded by the Boardwalk, Surf Avenue, Keyspan Park and West 15th Street since 1985, said Sitt’s recent offer of $91 million was far more than the Bloomberg Administration’s bid.
“I don’t want to even mention the [city’s] number,” Bullard told The Brooklyn Paper. “It was not a realistic number.”
Bullard said that after years of allowing the land to sit idle, he’s jettisoning it because “I’ve been looking around at the economy” and “it’s time for me to get on with my life.”
Thor’s interest in adding to its 10–1/2-acre empire was first reported on Monday in the New York Post, and a spokesman for the company told The Brooklyn Paper that the two sides have been hammering out a deal.
If Sitt gets Bullard’s land, the land-acquisition pricetag for the Bloomberg plan would nearly double. That could put pressure on the city to relent and back the zoning change Sitt seeks.
Monday, January 5, 2009
NY Post excerpt -
CONEY BOSS EYES MORE LAND
Mayor Bloomberg's plans for revitalizing Coney Island are in jeopardy as a controversial developer who owns most of the amusement district is now planning to expand his vast portfolio of boardwalk land rather than sell it to the city, The Post has learned.
With negotiations to sell his 10.5 acres of beachfront property to the city stalled, developer Joe Sitt is close to beating the city to three more acres of property the mayor covets - upping the stakes in their ongoing game of chicken over Coney Island's future.
Kansas Fried Chicken king Horace Bullard confirmed yesterday that he's "leaning toward" selling the former Thunderbolt rollercoaster site to Sitt for $91 million. He also said the city's offers for the land were so low, he never took them seriously.
Purchasing Bullard's site would expand Sitt's boardwalk portfolio to west of Stillwell Avenue as the developer would control most of the land stretching from Keyspan Park to the Cyclone rollercoaster.
Sitt spokesman Stefan Friedman revealed the developer needs the extra space for a "massive entertainment-amusement" complex he wants to set up on the boardwalk this summer and beyond, which is a back-up plan should deal to sell to the city not be reached.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Pic here -
Just how great was 2008? Time to put the last twelve months to the test in our special ‘Year in Review’ episode of Reporter Roundtable! Host Gersh Kuntzman of the Brooklyn Paper is joined by Dana Rubinstein of the NY Observer plus special guests Mike Baker, Manager for Red Hook’s Ikea and Dianna Carlin of the Lola Staar roller rink in Coney Island.
This video was aired on BCAT in mid December, before Thor didn't extend the lease.
Funds Evaporating at the Aquarium
James Forrest Dohlin, director of the Aquarium, said that of alternative sources, private donations and contributions are down. At any rate, he said, the private sector contributes less than 50 percent of the Aquarium’s costs. And in today’s economic climate, private donors are understandably more reluctant to give money.
“Our costs are fixed,” he said. “Animals don’t stop eating and don’t stop needing care. When we are faced with these kinds of really severe and disproportion cuts, we have to have everything on the table. That includes cutting staff, reducing services and looking for additional sources of income.” Some projects at the Aquarium are already under way. Among these are the plans for a new façade and the building of a new conservation hall that will showcase corals and “rift valley lakes” in East Africa and the Amazon. These exhibits, he said, are set to open in the spring of 2010.
The larger question, he said, is what will happen to the much-heralded plans to redo the Aquarium’s exterior and to enlarge the shark exhibit. “These types of budget cuts will make this so much more difficult,” said Dohlin.
More here -
Thursday, January 1, 2009
What a surprise.
As ambitious plans to bring more amusements and condominiums to Coney Island continue this week, many already living here are wondering if they’ll have a place in the new scheme of things.
Unlike many, O’Dwyer Gardens resident Deborah Carter says she’s in a good position to buy a new Coney Island condo — but she worries about her neighbors.“You’ve got to get ready,” the retired claims examiner said. “I’m for development. Coney Island is in bad shape and they should have done it years ago. It needs to be done — but hopefully there will be a place for people who can’t afford it.”
Carter spoke at a personal finance workshop recently held on Mermaid Avenue aimed at better preparing residents for the sweeping changes that 4,000 to 5,000 new residential units will bring to Coney Island’s housing market.