Brooklyn Daily excerpt -
The Beep’s seaside amphitheater plan has taken its first big step forward.
A major public oversight board voted unanimously on Dec. 4 in favor
of outgoing Borough President Markowitz’s controversial dream of turning
the former Childs Restaurant in Coney Island into a venue to host his
summer concerts series.
The City Planning Commission, a 13-member panel charged with
approving major real estate projects, endorsed Borough President
Markowitz’s pet project of converting the landmarked and derelict Childs building into a restaurant and arena complex — to the chagrin of residents who fear the Beep’s baby is bound to be unruly.
Markowitz was overjoyed at the decision — and reiterated his argument that the project will benefit the neighborhood’s impoverished residential area by supplying jobs and necessary infrastructure improvements.
“I’m thrilled about it — thrilled,” the Beep said. “And I’m confident
that they did not vote for it for any reason other than the good it
will do to that part of Coney Island and its residents.”
Markowitz said he would encourage iStar Financial, the company that
will renovate and operate the building, to hire residents. But he
refused to commit to supporting a community benefits agreement — and
claimed that such an agreement could only come after the Council has
voted in favor of the amphitheater.
“There’s no community benefits agreement until the project is
approved,” said Markowitz, comparing the project’s opponents to the foes
of the Atlantic Yards development. “No project has ever met with
everyone cheering. Atlantic Yards has benefitted Brooklyn, and this will
benefit Coney Island.”
The mayor appointed seven of the commission’s members, including the
chairwoman, while the five borough presidents and the public advocate
each appointed one. The Council will vote on whether to approve the
project on Dec. 16.