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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lowe's King Plaza to open July 23rd

Bay News excerpt -

Lowe's to open in Mill Basin on July 23
By Michèle De MeglioTuesday, June 22, 2010 6:11 PM EDT

Lowe’s is coming on July 23.

The home improvement giant will open its doors on the site of Kings Plaza’s former outdoor parking lot, located on Avenue U and E. 55th Street.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for July 29 and will feature an appearance by former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez, according to Lowe’s spokesman Gerard Littlejohn. Instead of the standard ribbon cutting, the store will stage a board-cutting ceremony, during which workers will saw through a plank of wood bearing the Lowe’s logo.

We broke the news to Mill Basin residents who were glad to hear that after months of construction, the store is almost ready to welcome customers. Lowe’s will occupy 94,000 square feet, create 120 jobs and maintain a waterfront promenade accessible to the public.

“Oh good!” squealed E. 53rd Street resident Connie Lenzo. “I’m kind of anxious for them to open.”

City Council approves $1.4 Billion new development for old Domino Sugar Refinery

NY Times excerpts -

$1.4 Billion Development at Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn Wins Key Council Support
Published: June 29, 2010

The $1.4 billion plan to transform the former Domino Sugar refinery into a residential development on the Brooklyn waterfront won critical support in the City Council on Tuesday, after the developer agreed to cut the size of the project’s two tallest towers and provide a shuttle bus to the nearest subway. The project at the defunct Domino Sugar refinery in Brooklyn will offer 660 of its planned 2,200 apartments to poor and working-class New Yorkers.

The New Domino project, on the East River in Williamsburg, had divided a once-working-class neighborhood in desperate need of housing for longtime residents but overwhelmed by a wave of new luxury towers during the recent real estate boom.

The developer, the Community Preservation Corporation, has promised that 600 of the 2,200 apartments at the 11-acre Domino site will be for poor and working-class New Yorkers. The corporation is also preserving Domino’s refinery building and its 40-foot tall sign, while providing a public esplanade, shops and office and community space.

“This is a way of turning a dead industrial site into a vibrant, mixed-use and mixed-income community that can be a model for redevelopment,” said Michael Lappin, president of the Community Preservation Corporation, which owns the site.

During last-minute negotiations, the developer agreed to reduce two planned 40-story towers to 36 floors. The lost space from those floors will be added to other buildings on the site. The corporation also agreed that construction, building service and eventual supermarket workers at the New Domino would be paid prevailing wages.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Concrete poured at Atlantic Yards

Arena Footings Mark Start of Barclays Center Foundation

(Brooklyn, NY) – June 29, 2010 - Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, today announced that The Laquila Group, a Brooklyn based excavation and foundation contractor, along with WNW Concrete Contracting, a local minority owned business, has begun pouring concrete for the foundation of the Barclays Center.

Nearly 700 cubic yards of concrete from two plants in Brooklyn, delivered in 80 concrete mixing trucks, has been poured in the first two foundation footings.

"We're thrilled that we are fully in the construction phase," said Bob Sanna, the
executive vice president in charge of construction at FCRC. "Over the next few months we will continue with the mass excavation, underground plumbing and electrical work along with ongoing foundation work."

Mr. Sanna explained that approximately 13,000 cubic yards of concrete will be used in the Barclays Centerfoundation. He expects 6,565 tons of steel to be used to construct the arena and an additional 2,693 tons for the arena roof.

Bill passes to save Coney concerts!

This is obviously a great sign for the coming amphitheater as well.

Brooklyn Paper excerpts -

So much for the 500-foot rule.

Days after opponents of Borough President Markowitz’s $64-million concert amphitheater proposal sued to prevent the Beep from running his popular summer concert series, the City Council passed a bill that would make amplified music legal — no matter how close it is to a house of worship.

After the bill passed on Tuesday, Markowitz issued a statement hailing the legislation.

“The show will go on!” he said. “This vote is a vote for valued cultural programming in our city’s parks and a show of commitment to ensuring our city’s laws reflect the needs of our vibrant, diverse 21st-century city.”

He lashed out at his opponents as using the 500-foot rule “to hold these shows hostage to an agenda to stop future park renovations. … The [amphitheater] will include a renovated covered band shell as well as improved drainage, walkways, a new state-of-the-art comfort station and fabulous new accessible playground [and] will only make the park better and more usable for the surrounding community.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Water Slide Beach

This should be fantastic. One thing I never understood about Coney is why there were no lounge chair rentals on the beach like every other tourist beach. It's about time. Can't wait for the indoor Water Park to complement this outdoor park.

I expect this outdoor park will come back every summer. It should be very successful.

Brooklyn Paper excerpts -

Get wet and wild at Coney this summer
By Stephen Brown
The Brooklyn Paper

The new “Water Slide Beach,” opening July 4 weekend, will feature three water slides, a bungee jump attraction, food, and plenty more.

While the kids are going berserk in the water park, parents will be able to lounge in a nearby cabana area, or even rent beach chairs on the Coney sand.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sitt talks Coney at Brooklyn Real Estate Summit

The Real Deal excerpt -

The moderator of the panel, the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation's Joan Bartolomeo, asked the three if they ever get sick of the politics and hassles that accompany large development projects in New York City.

"At some point, do you ever say 'why am I doing this'?" Bartolomeo asked.

Sitt said he was surprised by the emotional public response to his plans to redevelop Coney Island, including removing aging buildings to make way for newer attractions.

"I admit, in the case of Coney Island, I got kind of blindsided," he said.

Ten years ago, the Brooklyn-native said, "nobody had any interest in Coney Island," adding that he got involved in the seaside amusement district "not so much for the investment," but more "as a personal hobby, to try to give back" to the community.

"My goal was to [try to] wake up everybody's passion," he said. "I guess we did too good a job of promoting Coney Island."

Still, he said, the controversy has had its benefits in terms of drawing attention to the area. He cited that as one reason Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus made its debut in Coney Island in 2009.

"A lot of the controversy… to some degree, for the sake of the project, I actually enjoy it," Sitt said.

Marty sued over Seaside concerts

NY Post excerpts -

Markowitz, however, fired back, saying “The show will go on!”

“These popular concerts have been happening for 32 years, since 1991 at this location with the synagogue’s blessing,” he said. “The synagogue’s own members regularly come to the shows to enjoy acts like Neil Sedaka, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Liza Minnelli, the Beach Boys, and so many more. I never would have thought that in my lifetime a Jewish synagogue would try to take away joy and happiness from tens of thousands of Brooklynites out of spite.

“They are shamefully using religion to hold these concerts hostage in a misguided attempt to stop renovations that will only make this park even better for the community, for nearby residents and families, and enhance Coney Island as a fun-filled destination. They should be ashamed. As we say in Yiddish it is a ‘shonda.’”

The project would replace a 66,000-square-foot band shell already used for the summer concert series with a modern 87,200-square foot open-air amphitheater.

Its first phase, to build a new playground, is expected to kickoff this year and be completed by next fall. By late next year, construction would begin on the amphitheater, so it can be finished in 2012. Besides the playground and amphitheater, the project also calls for new bathrooms and other park upgrades.

Markowitz is using $54 million of his office’s capital improvement funds for the project, while the mayor’s office is kicking in $10 million.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New gym for Coney

NY Post excerpts-

The $10.3 million, 7,000-square-foot gym will feature a full-length basketball court and male and female locker rooms and is expected to be done by October 2011.

The benefits of the new gym will extend beyond the school. It will also be available for use by the community during non-school hours to help fill a dire need for recreational space in the neighborhood Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. helped push to get the project fully funded as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s ongoing plan to revive Coney Island.

The majority of the project’s funding was secured with little fanfare last summer during negotiations between the City Council and the Bloomberg administration on how best to revitalize of Coney Island. Besides city funds, elected officials dipped into their individual pork barrel pots, including $500,000 each from Recchia, Borough President Marty Markowitz, state Sen. Diane J. Savino, and state Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.

“From the beginning, I believed that the only way to revitalize Coney Island was to revitalize every single part of it,” said Recchia. “While it was incredibly important to secure affordable housing and job opportunities for the 50,000 people who call Coney Island home, we also have to plan for the future.

“The best investment we can make is in our children, because they’ll be the ones who will step up to lead this community. This groundbreaking is another sign that the rezoning plan passed last year by the City Council is growing into a huge success.”

Why should the old buildings be incorporated in Coney hotels?

Ziggy made this proposal in his recent speech -

"I would like to see a rendering of the Bank of Coney Island building as the grand marble clad, sunlite atrium entrance to a 30 story hotel built atop it. I would like to see a rendering of the Grasshorn Building as a Jeckyl and Hyde franchise restaurant. I would like to see a new rendering of the Shore Hotel as an upscale Calvin Klein Swimwear Shop and I would even like to see a rendering of front of Henderson’s demolished and replaced by a 30 story waterpark hotel with the dancehall rear of Henderson’s as a two story House of Blues or BB Kings franchise."

Now quite honestly why in the world would Joe Sitt risk incorporating those buildings into the hotels when Ziggy himself proposed during the zoning last year to not have the hotels south of Surf and then AFTER ZONING Ziggy also campaigned for landmarking those old buildings? That would have stopped the hotels as well.

Now if those buildings are saved by Thor what would stop Ziggy from trying to landmark those old buildings again during the next administration when the hotels are about to go up? That would put the hotels at risk again. Thor would be crazy to put the the hotels at risk AGAIN! It makes no sense.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sitt comments in the WSJ

Excerpts -

"Coney Island saw more foot traffic than it has in 50 years on Memorial Day," said Joseph Sitt, chief executive of real-estate development firm, Thor Equities, which owns much of the commercial real estate in the area. "And what's wild is there ain't nothing there yet relative to what's coming."

According to Brian Hanson, first vice president of sales for Massey Knakal Realty Services, leasing rates for most retail space along Surf Avenue are around $30 to $35 a square foot. Commercial developers, including amusement- and water-park operators and beach vendors have expressed interest in acquiring space along Surf Avenue, although Mr. Hanson says so far there's been no economic push to warrant an increase in lease rates.

That could change if Luna Park continues to attract new visitors. "Leasing prices will go up depending on the success of Luna Park and the progress of the area's entire redevelopment," he said.

Also in January 2009 the Bloomberg administration adopted a redevelopment plan for a 19-block area as far west as West 24th Street, north to Mermaid Avenue, south to the boardwalk and east to West 8th Street calling for new hotels, restaurants and retail locations.

Thor Equities wouldn't be specific about its demolition plans. But in an emailed statement, a company spokesman said Coney Island "needs to be more than a museum…it needs a new vision…a place that people can come year-round."

Another loss for those trying to stop the Coney hotels

The losses keep mounting. When will they stop fighting the re-zoning? Who knows what's next? WSJ says this is the final blow. I have stated here for months they have no chance at all to stop the hotels. I am interested to see the next move. We all knew for about a year that they were going to try to landmark every old building in the zone. Maybe Ziggy's plan to include the old buildings in the hotels is the next strategy. I seriously doubt that happens though. Seems obvious those dilapidated buildings will be demolished.

WSJ blog excerpt -

Roughly a week after the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected historic status for four Coney Island buildings, 11 historians sent a letter asking the committee to reconsider.
Yet in what is perhaps the final blow to
Save Coney Island, the non-profit group that had been pushing for landmark designations, a spokeswoman for the commission on Thursday said the group was unlikely to reverse its decision.

“Unless the authors of the the letter present us with new information or compelling evidence of the architectural or historic significance of these buildings, it is unlikely we would reconsider our decision,” the spokeswoman said.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

NY Post - Thor properties worth $3 billion plus $1 billion in cash

Does anybody really think Thor doesn't have the financial strength to wait Coney out until the next admin? Ha!

Excerpt -

Thor owns 10 million square feet of retail, office, hotel and residential property worth over $3 billion. The company also has a $1 billion urban fund war chest ready to invest in properties like the Takashimaya Building.
Read more:

Taconic has 5 year plan for 2500 condo units in Coney

Video from NY1 -

No Land Grab comments on ConeyRocks

"The author seems to be someone who wants to suck up to the powerful, and doesn't care if Coney Island becomes a generic, indoor mall."

No, this author lives in South Brooklyn his entire life and sees Coney Island for what it really is. An absolute ghost town 9 months a year. My wife is from Coney Island and we have been walking the boardwalk on winter nights going back to the 1980s. It's desolate on winter nights except for maybe a drunk or a drug addict roaming around. Not to mention one the highest unemployment rates in this city.

Sorry guys, but the CIDC mission statement says year round development. All you blogs care about is summer amusements. You are all very selfish and self absorbed people in my opinion. Coney will be much much more than summer amusements and it will go year round - like it or not!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sitt has 8 -10 year plans for Coney

As I have stated many times, this is all going into the next administration. Thor is not leaving Coney. All the other blogs got the whole scenario wrong.

Thor and Taconic on NY1

Is Coney starting to remind you of Atlantic Yards?

First they try to stop hotels through zoning. They lose. Then they try to stop hotels through a historic district designation. They lose again. Now they want to tell the developer how he should develop the buildings. LOL What's next?

Looks quite obvious that those dilipated buildings will be bulldozed and hotels will eventually happen in Coney.

Coney will go year round. Like it or not!

Friday, June 4, 2010

There goes the historic district

NY Daily News excerpt -

That vision was dealt a blow when the city Landmarks Commission decided Wednesday the buildings were "too significantly altered" from their original condition to qualify as a historic district.

"Only capitalism can save those buildings [since] the Landmarks Commission will not," said Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun.

How are they going to try and stop hotels and year round Coney next? The saga continues LOL

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hold the phone - Ziggy is proposing hotels and chains south of Surf

Classic, just classic -

"I would like to see a rendering of the Bank of Coney Island building as the grand marble clad, sunlite atrium entrance to a 30 story hotel built atop it. I would like to see a rendering of the Grasshorn Building as a Jeckyl and Hyde franchise restaurant. I would like to see a new rendering of the Shore Hotel as an upscale Calvin Klein Swimwear Shop and I would even like to see a rendering of front of Henderson’s demolished and replaced by a 30 story waterpark hotel with the dancehall rear of Henderson’s as a two story House of Blues or BB Kings franchise."

Oh man this is something else. I can't wait to read all the amusement internet blogs rally around hotels and chain restaurants saying we all really wanted it all along! ROFL

What A Surprise!!!! No historic district designation!

Direct from Ziggy's CIUSA speech -

"In the past month, when I was sick and out of touch, some important things have come to pass. Save Coney Island’s lawsuit came to an end. Back channel discussions with the Landmarks Commission suggest a proposed Surf Avenue Historic District is not likely to happen."

What a shocker! LOL, I wonder how they will try to stop Coney hotels next?