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  #41  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 11:22 PM
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Posted on curbed.com

Destructoporn: Thor's Hammer Starts Banging Coney Island










Demolition equipment dispatched by Thor Equities has gotten to work in Coney Island, tearing up go-kart tracks, batting cages and mini-golf courses near the boardwalk. We took the shot above over the weekend when it felt like it was seriously below zero in Southern Brooklyn's future year-round destination. Last week, Thor publicly threatened to walk away from the project if it doesn't get the zoning it wants to build luxury highrises on the boardwalk. There have been some concerns that the early demolition work is intended to increase pressure for quick approval of Thor's plans.
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  #42  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 2:28 PM
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Thor's website for his part of the Coney Island redevelopment...
http://www.thefutureofconeyisland.com/
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  #43  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 1:18 PM
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NY Sun

City Signals No-Go for Coney Island Luxury Tower
Land Use


By ELIOT BROWN
February 15, 2007


Developer Joseph Sitt's plan to revitalize Coney Island with new amusements financed with profits from luxury housing is facing new resistance from the city.

Yesterday, the chairwoman of the Department of City Planning, Amanda Burden, criticized Mr. Sitt's plan to include a luxury tower in the beachfront district that is zoned for amusements.

"Amusements are incompatible with immediate adjacent residential use," Ms. Burden said at a Crain's New York breakfast presentation in Midtown.


Mr. Sitt's Thor Equities has planned a $2 billion complex for the area, which would contain a large amusement component, both indoor and outdoor, and retail. The developer says it must finance the amusements with the inclusion of about 700 luxury condominiums along the boardwalk. Market studies show that they need both the extra people and added revenue from the units to make the development financially viable, Thor Equities has said. Last month, the developer threatened to scuttle its plans for the amusement park if the city disallows the residential apartments.

The city is in the midst of creating a comprehensive plan for the area, which would include rezoning to allow for the amusement complex and nearby residential development. Ms. Burden said rezoning the area for the allowance of residential units in the surrounding area is important for the project, but apartments in the heart of the amusement district would detract from the overall revitalization of Coney Island. Any zoning change would need to pass through the city's uniform land use review process, and requires approvals from the Planning Commission and the City Council.

A spokesman for Thor Equities, Lee Silberstein, said that discussions with the city are ongoing.

"We continue to work with the administration to formulate a plan that can be implemented for Coney Island," Mr. Silberstein said.

As the company dances with the city over the possible inclusion of condominiums, it has been ramping up efforts to sell the project to the community. Thor Equities launched a website for the project last week, which does not mention plans for the residential units, and recently sent out cards to neighbors promoting the potential development.

In her talk yesterday morning, Ms. Burden also said that a plan for a rezoning in the Manhattan's Garment district would soon be revealed. The rezoning would not call for the addition of residential in the area, she said, once a thriving apparel manufacturing district.
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  #44  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 12:50 PM
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Observer

Sitt Buckles Into Coney Rollercoaster
‘We’re stuck in the bureaucracy,’ says the man who plans to develop Coney Island. He wants Planning Director Amanda Burden to get out of his way.




Amanda Burden, the city’s Planning Director, has said she isn’t a fan of condos next to any future Coney Island amusement hub.

By Matthew Schuerman

Joe Sitt, a 42-year-old developer who has bought up Coney Island’s core, got stung a few weeks ago. The city’s planning director, Amanda Burden, knocked the economic engine that’s supposed to drive the whole thing—condominiums—months before the official rezoning process had even begun.

Luxury condominiums, Ms. Burden said at a Feb. 14 Crain’s New York Business breakfast, should not be “adjacent” to amusements.

Suddenly, Mr. Sitt finds himself $60 million lighter, his prime strategy to turn nostalgia into profits—two residential towers mixed in among the rides and the retail of a modern-day Coney Island—in disarray. Most recently, he was lambasted in the press because he required some vendors to sign gag orders as a condition for staying beyond their leases.

“We’re stuck in the bureaucracy of government,” Mr. Sitt told The Observer in a March 1 interview. “It’s just crazy that somebody from government would want us to mothball this entire thing for five or 10 years, to leave it to another administration to make it happen.”

Mr. Sitt, a businessman who founded the Ashley Stewart clothing chain at age 26 and climbed the ladder of bigger and bigger deals ever since, doesn’t blame Ms. Burden directly; he hardly knows her. He blames the low-level city planners he has dealt with, who he says resisted—at least at first—his $2 billion vision to reinvigorate Coney Island by bringing back its eclecticism.

“It is not the uniform office tower or residential tower that a lot of these folks at the junior-most levels of government are used to dealing with,” Mr. Sitt said. “This is Coney Island. This is zany. This is different. When somebody says to me, ‘You want to be careful what you want to do with Coney Island; make sure you don’t do anything too freaky here,’ I say, ‘Are you aware of the fact that this was the place where there were people like the Fat Lady and the Skinny Man and the Bearded Lady? What do you mean, you don’t want any restaurants in Coney Island?’”

A PRODUCT OF GRAVESEND, BROOKLYN, MR. SITT was sitting in his lower Fifth Avenue office, wearing an immaculately pressed, cuff-linked blue shirt that belied the chaos around him. Secretaries walked in and out with papers for him to sign. When his publicist interjected an elucidating comment or two, Mr. Sitt would jump up from his ergonomic chair, pick up his desk phone and buy another piece of property somewhere. Then he would plunge back into the conversation.

“It was a little bit of an education process,” Mr. Sitt began, his voice steadily rising in a combination of genuine and manufactured indignation. “‘No, we don’t want any restaurants on Coney Island,’ they said. ‘We want to maintain the spirit of the history of Coney Island.’ And I said, ‘What are you talking about, the history of Coney Island? Coney Island had 232 restaurants at once!’”

(On the other hand, the only people who lived there were in that little shack underneath the Thunderbolt, memorialized in the movie Annie Hall.)

In some ways, Mr. Sitt jumped into the game too late to replicate the way another Brooklyn developer, Bruce Ratner, convinced the city and state to support a sports arena right next to a massive apartment village. Mr. Ratner saw a desolate rail yard in central Brooklyn and used it as a wedge to create an eight-million-square foot development. Mr. Sitt began buying property only four years ago, after the city constructed a minor-league baseball stadium and had already made its mind up to forge a community-led master plan for the neighborhood.

On the other hand, Mr. Sitt—unlike Mr. Ratner—never needs to use eminent domain. He has spent $150 million buying out dozens of landowners, according to reports, prying heirlooms from the families which created Nathan’s Hot Dogs and brought the Ferris wheel to New York City with the promise that he would put them to worthy use. After flipping land west of Keyspan Park to a residential developer for $90 million, Mr. Sitt is left with the four-block area next to the Cyclone roller coaster, the so-called amusement core.

The full-color renderings that he commissioned from architects Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn show a grown-up Disneyland with a giant martini glass, a roller coaster that passes through buildings, a jumble of shapes and extra dimensions that completely obliterates the street grid— even though it would actually add streets.


Mr. Sitt contends that 975 residential units—an unspecified mix of time-shares and condos—would provide the eyes and ears (and pocketbooks) that would make the complex work year round, to say nothing of compensating for the losses he expects from running the amusement area.

On a total square-foot basis, according to figures from Thor Equities, Mr. Sitt’s development firm, the apartments would constitute 34 percent of the square footage of the complex, while amusements would constitute only 14 percent. (Hotels, retail and parking would make up the rest.) The actual land area covered by the footprints of the residential towers would be much smaller, however—in part because one of the towers would rise 50 stories.

Despite Mr. Sitt’s confrontational rhetoric (a mark of desperation, or some sort of Brechtian government-relations strategy?), the Thor plan has a lot in common with the one dreamed up by the Coney Island Development Corporation, an offshoot of the city’s Economic Development Corporation with community members on its board. Hotels, restaurants and music venues would draw people until late at night; indoor amusements would be impervious to the cold; and together they would produce enough revenue to justify the latest gizmos.

“Thor is not necessarily the enemy. A lot of what they are proposing is exactly what we want,” said Dick Zigun, the founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and a member of the Coney Island Development Corporation. “We want affluent people from around the world to come and spend a week here and spend a lot of money. But people who come here for a week want the noise and excitement; people raising families complain. People renting apartments across the street complain on a regular basis as it is.”

He added, “If Thor presented a plan that was 85 percent amusements and 15 percent condos, I would not vote for it—but it would not surprise me if it went through.”

While city officials wouldn’t respond directly to the charges of juvenilia, they did assert that they are following the direction laid out in September 2005, when the Coney Island Development Corporation approved an 18-page “strategic plan” outlining what sort of uses would be permitted where along the entire peninsula. It called for rezoning blocks to the north and west of Keyspan Park to permit apartments, and to increase the density of some other residential areas, adding another 8,000 residents or so.

But the area where Mr. Sitt is focusing would be reserved for “active and historic amusements” and “extended seasonal entertainment.” (Current zoning only permits things like amusement parks, sports facilities, miniature golf and boating facilities—even sit-down restaurants are prohibited.) That said, city planning officials are stressing that residential development wouldn’t be appropriate right next to amusements, but they leave open the question of how the two uses would co-exist if they were a block away from each other.

“There is an inherent land-use conflict when you put a use that we hope would be a 24-hour use, where there would be bright lights and noise and crowds, right next to residential,” said Purnima Kapur, director of the Brooklyn office of the Department of City Planning. “You don’t want somebody’s windows opening up right onto that.”

STILL, MR. SITT SAID THAT HE WAS LED TO BELIEVE that the development corporation approved of residential uses and pointed to a public statement made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg this January calling for “a diverse use of a piece of land if it’s really going to succeed.”

City officials say that the Mayor’s statement referred to the larger Coney Island neighborhood, not the amusement core. Mr. Zigun, the member of the Coney Island Development Corporation, acknowledged that an architecture firm working as a consultant to the city, Arquitectonica, had once suggested a plan that incorporated residential into the core, but the plan was quickly dismissed.

At one point in his interview with The Observer, Mr. Sitt said: “I could care whether it was hotels, condos, time-shares—I want humans.” But a spokesman for Mr. Sitt said later that hotels and time-shares wouldn’t make the project financially viable enough without condos.

To make his argument, Mr. Sitt even commissioned a telephone poll of 400 randomly selected residents of the Coney Island City Council district; it showed that 62.1 percent supported residential housing “in or near the boardwalk.” When asked whether they would change their minds if “a limited amount” was needed in order to make the amusements, restaurants, retail and “hundreds of new jobs,” about half of the opponents ended up supporting the idea.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sitt complains about the city’s slow pace. The Department of City Planning anticipates issuing zoning recommendations by the summer. The Coney Island Development Corporation expects to begin the land-use process by the end of the year, meaning that the area will not be rezoned until mid-2008.

“The city is going to take the time to get it right,” Ms. Kapur said. “The area has been in decline for over 40 years. We need to make sure all the constituencies are on board, and that takes time.”

Mr. Sitt is now pulling down buildings, making it clear that the old Coney Island will enjoy one more summer—but only one. He owns all the property and could try to starve Coney Island until he gets the residential zoning that he wants. It is another matter, though, whether Ms. Burden will give in.
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  #45  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 1:03 PM
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NY Sun

New York Aquarium Chooses New Design

By ELIOT BROWN
March 7, 2007

The New York Aquarium has chosen a design for its new exterior, a giant, wavy, cage-like enclosure with an aquatic theme, sources tell The New York Sun.

The design, created by a Philadelphia-based firm, Wallace, Roberts & Todd, and Barcelona-based Cloud 9, is intended better to blend the aquarium's multiple Robert Moses-era buildings with the nearby beach. The Coney Island-based aquarium sits at the end of string of parking lots and currently has no direct access to the neighboring boardwalk or ocean.

The aquarium, which is owned and operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, selected the design from three finalists about two months ago, though it has withheld a formal announcement, the sources said.

The plans for the site tie into a larger effort to revitalize the bygone amusement hub, which now lies eerily dormant for half the year.

Representatives at WCS did not return calls for comment and a spokeswoman for Wallace, Roberts & Todd declined to comment.

Coney Island natives, who have long viewed the exterior of the aquarium as uninviting, welcomed the decision to revamp the 50-year-old complex.

"The aquarium has always been hidden away and walled in," a Coney Island historian, Charles Denson, said. "You can't see the ocean from the aquarium. It's right on the Atlantic, but there's nothing that connects it to the beach."

WCS, in conjunction with the city's Economic Development Corporation, began a design contest for the new exterior last summer, asking companies to make a design that could serve as a beacon for the area. About 25 companies made submissions, and the winner was to be announced in the fall.

A spokeswoman for the EDC, which is involved in implementing a strategic plan for the Coney Island area, Janel Patterson, said the EDC and WCS are working out details of the project and do not have a specific time line for construction.

"The perimeter design is really quite a large undertaking — it can't be done all at once," she said. "We want to be sure we're scheduling the correct phasing with funding that becomes available."

The city has sought to revitalize Coney Island for years, and the planning department is working on a rezoning for the area that would allow for new development.

A private developer, Thor Equities, has bought several lots in the area, including the Astroland amusement park, and is engaged in a publicity campaign promoting its plans for a giant new entertainment complex complete with an indoor water park, retail stores, and restaurants to the southwest of the aquarium.

However, the company is seeking to build luxury condominiums in the heart of the district, a plan the city opposes.

Until any development can go forward in the amusement district, Mr. Denson said the aquarium will be one of few sites that will draw people to the area, as Thor plans to close Astroland this fall and continue clearing the land on its other properties.

"It's going to be one of the main attractions in Coney Island," he said. "There's not much left."
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  #46  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 6:56 PM
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Equally spectacular, Sitt hopes, will be a blimp that will take off from the complex’s roof, carrying tourists on joyrides over the city as it flashes the resort’s name in giant technicolor letters: THE BOARDWALK AT CONEY ISLAND.
I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will be one of the first to ride I garantee, this is one of the coolest things I've seen come out of New York other than the skyscraper.

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  #47  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 8:29 PM
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Cool news about the Aquarium! I like this design the most.

Here are a few more renderings...







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  #48  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 8:30 PM
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That's spectacular!
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  #49  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 8:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Jularc View Post
Cool news about the Aquarium! I like this design the most.

Here are a few more renderings...



Very nice indeed...

Quote:
A spokeswoman for the EDC, which is involved in implementing a strategic plan for the Coney Island area, Janel Patterson, said the EDC and WCS are working out details of the project and do not have a specific time line for construction.

"The perimeter design is really quite a large undertaking — it can't be done all at once," she said. "We want to be sure we're scheduling the correct phasing with funding that becomes available."
The best days of Coney Island may be ahead...
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  #50  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 9:06 PM
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Observer

Sitt Buckles Into Coney Rollercoaster
‘We’re stuck in the bureaucracy,’ says the man who plans to develop Coney Island. He wants Planning Director Amanda Burden to get out of his way.




Amanda Burden, the city’s Planning Director, has said she isn’t a fan of condos next to any future Coney Island amusement hub.

Luxury condominiums, Ms. Burden said at a Feb. 14 Crain’s New York Business breakfast, should not be “adjacent” to amusements.

On a total square-foot basis, according to figures from Thor Equities, Mr. Sitt’s development firm, the apartments would constitute 34 percent of the square footage of the complex, while amusements would constitute only 14 percent. (Hotels, retail and parking would make up the rest.) The actual land area covered by the footprints of the residential towers would be much smaller, however—in part because one of the towers would rise 50 stories.

“Thor is not necessarily the enemy. A lot of what they are proposing is exactly what we want,” said Dick Zigun, the founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and a member of the Coney Island Development Corporation. “We want affluent people from around the world to come and spend a week here and spend a lot of money. But people who come here for a week want the noise and excitement; people raising families complain. People renting apartments across the street complain on a regular basis as it is.”

But the area where Mr. Sitt is focusing would be reserved for “active and historic amusements” and “extended seasonal entertainment.” (Current zoning only permits things like amusement parks, sports facilities, miniature golf and boating facilities—even sit-down restaurants are prohibited.) That said, city planning officials are stressing that residential development wouldn’t be appropriate right next to amusements, but they leave open the question of how the two uses would co-exist if they were a block away from each other.

“There is an inherent land-use conflict when you put a use that we hope would be a 24-hour use, where there would be bright lights and noise and crowds, right next to residential,” said Purnima Kapur, director of the Brooklyn office of the Department of City Planning. “You don’t want somebody’s windows opening up right onto that.”
I can see both sides of the story here. While I agree that it may not be completely appropriate for luxury towers in the middle of the amusement zone, is it really gonna make much difference even being just a block away? Wouldn't anyone who moved there be aware in advance that it was the heart of CONEY ISLAND?

It's like someone moving into a building accross the street from the Empire State, then suddenly complaining because they don't like tall buildings.

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Coney Island #2: Thor Boss Says Haters Just Don't Get It



After the city—and planning director Amanda Burden specifically—took some wind out of Thor Equities' sails by saying high-priced condos may not be such a good thing for a redeveloped Coney Island, Thor chief Joseph Sitt tried various approaches. First, he threatened to pull the whole $2 billion plan off the shelf. That made us seriously consider seppuku, so he scaled back the threats and instead tried to show the community how awesome Thor's plan is, while kinda-sorta hiding the housing thing. Now Sitt is on to Phase 3, granting a one-on-one interview with the Observer so he can attack the "bureaucracy" and criticize those who cannot comprehend his vision:

“It is not the uniform office tower or residential tower that a lot of these folks at the junior-most levels of government are used to dealing with,” Mr. Sitt said. “This is Coney Island. This is zany. This is different. When somebody says to me, ‘You want to be careful what you want to do with Coney Island; make sure you don’t do anything too freaky here,’ I say, ‘Are you aware of the fact that this was the place where there were people like the Fat Lady and the Skinny Man and the Bearded Lady? What do you mean, you don’t want any restaurants in Coney Island?’”

Did you ever think Shoot the Freak would be equated with luxury high-rises? Of course you did.
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  #51  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2007, 7:40 PM
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Observer

On a total square-foot basis, according to figures from Thor Equities, Mr. Sitt’s development firm, the apartments would constitute 34 percent of the square footage of the complex, while amusements would constitute only 14 percent. (Hotels, retail and parking would make up the rest.) The actual land area covered by the footprints of the residential towers would be much smaller, however—in part because one of the towers would rise 50 stories.
Post on the Gowanus Lounge...
http://gowanuslounge.blogspot.com/20...ey-island.html







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  #52  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2007, 9:16 PM
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I hope they get built. The big tower seems interesting.
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  #53  
Old Posted Mar 14, 2007, 11:51 AM
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I hope they get built. The big tower seems interesting.

The City wants the towers moved about a block away. I don't see that it makes much difference, but we'll see what's worked out.
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  #54  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Daily News

Parks set on Coney ad-venture
Asks bids on rock-climb wall, trapeze


BY JIMMY VIELKIND
March 19th 2007

The Parks Department is taking a second crack at spicing up the Coney Island beachfront with action-packed activities after similar plans fizzled last season.

The agency is looking for contractors to operate "rock-climbing walls, rappelling walls, trampolines, ropes courses and trapeze," according to a request for bids released recently.

"Parks may also consider proposals for the operation of water sports activities, such as 'banana boat' rides or parasailing, as part of this concession," the document said. "The rental or operation of Jet Skis or any other personal watercraft, however, will not be permitted."


Bids are due in mid-April, but agency officials couldn't say whether things would be up and running by summer. A similar request last year drew no respondents, but the agency has increased advertising and outreach efforts.

"We're not sure why we didn't get responses the last time around - it might have been a question of people seeing the ads too late," said Parks Department spokesman Eric Abramson, noting that the agency is also "talking it up" to current Coney Island business owners.

The hope is that what is currently a lightly used parcel in Steeplechase Plaza near KeySpan Park just off W. 19th St. will become an extension of the amusements east of Stillwell Ave. - some of which have been cleared by developer Thor Equities as it bids to develop housing and rides in the area.

But there may be a deeper problem. Despite ongoing efforts to revitalize the neighborhood's amusement district and convert it to year-round operations, business is still very seasonal.

That could make it hard for an operator to recoup the initial investment required for a business - which one veteran operator estimated at roughly $1 million.

"It sounds like they would want a fortune just to go in there," said Rich Welter, a former Long Islander who now owns Sunset Watersports in Key West, Fla. "At 50 bucks for a parasail ride, you've got to do a lot of rides to make it happen."

Parks Department officials remain optimistic and have expanded last year's request to include Orchard Beach in the Bronx. Several bidders showed up for a site tour in Coney Island last week.

"People like all different kinds of recreation, and while Coney Island already has many offerings, this is just another avenue to increase the variety of our recreational offerings," Abramson said.
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  #55  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 11:31 AM
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NY Sun

Astroland Is Prepared To Ride Into the Sunset



Coney Island's Astroland prepares to open for its last season this year.

By ELIOT BROWN
March 26, 2007


Workers at Coney Island's Astroland did over the weekend what they do every spring: clean up the ticket booths and prepare the rides for the April 1 opening.

This year was different in that the opening will be the last of the annual rituals at Coney Island's only remaining true amusement park. A developer, Thor Equities, founded by Joseph Sitt, intends to shut it down in the fall to make room for a total overhaul of the area.


The owner of Astroland, Carol Hill Albert, who also owns the Cyclone roller coaster, sold the site to Thor in the fall for $30 million, property records indicate, a deal she said she was reluctant to make. "I couldn't risk going out of business," she said, contending that years of anticipated construction on Thor's property presented a large obstacle.

Ms. Albert, whose family has owned Astroland for all 40 years of its existence, said there were too many bureaucratic obstacles to year-round amusements on her site. "I think Joe Sitt has been taking all the city's attention and energy," she said.

A spokesman for the city's Economic Development Corporation, Andrew Brent, denied that preferential treatment was given to any developer and said the city was surprised when Ms. Albert sold the Astroland site to Thor last fall.

While the final season at Astroland may not signify the last chapter in the tale of Coney Island, it represents the end of a volume in the amusement hub's storied anthology. In place of the usual small-scale rides and game booths common in Coney Island history, there likely will be large parcels of amusements owned by a single operator, the executive director of the Coney Island History Project, Charles Denson, said.

The president of the nonprofit Coney Island USA, Richard Zigun, said that while he was disappointed with Astroland's closing, a large developer could be very beneficial for the area's revitalization efforts.

"The idea of assembling a 10-acre package for one developer to do lots of rides is a good thing," he said. But, like a growing chorus of area opponents, he is displeased with Thor's insistence on building residential units in the heart of the amusement district.

When Thor started buying land to develop new amusements a few years ago, the community, long awaiting a rebirth, reacted with excitement, Ms. Albert said.

As it became clear that Thor wanted nearly 1,000 residential units inside the district, opposition mounted, Ms. Albert said, adding that her financial analyses show that amusements are viable without condos.

"You could make money year-round in the amusement business in Coney Island by building a hotel or hotels instead of condos," she said.

Opponents of Thor's apartment proposal will conduct a protest at City Hall Friday.

A spokesman for Thor, Lee Silberstein, said the company is still discussing the plan with the city.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 11:41 AM
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NY Post

CYCLONE SWIRLS AROUND CONEY ISLAND BUILDER

By RICH CALDER
March 26, 2007

City officials have come out swinging against the developer promising a Vegas-glitz makeover for Coney Island's prime real estate - saying he's nothing but a huckster with a history of flipping properties for a fast buck.

Several officials told The Post they're concerned that Joseph Sitt's next selling spree could involve the massive assemblage of beachfront land his Thor Equities has bought up in Coney Island - especially if City Hall doesn't allow his planned $2 billion entertainment complex to include luxury housing.

"The guy has a track record of flipping land for big bucks," said one source close to the project. "He's done it already in Coney Island and other Brooklyn projects like [Downtown Brooklyn's] Albee Square Mall, and who's to say he won't play the city again?"

Chuck Reichenthal, a member of the city's Coney Island Development Corp., is worried Thor will hold up the plan either by selling out or by holding out to see if the next mayor is willing to allow the housing.

"I look out my [Surf Avenue] office window, and what I see now is very sad," he said. "They're beginning to create a ghost town."

The war over Coney Island's future came to a boil last month when City Planning Chairwoman Amanda Burden said at a Crain's breakfast presentation that there was no room for housing in the seaside plan.

"Amusements are incompatible with immediate adjacent residential use," Burden said.


Lynn Kelly, president of the CIDC, was more cautious about criticizing Sitt.

"Is there a concern? Sure. But we're moving forward with our rezoning plan, and we're hopeful that, once it's complete, the developer will create something great for Coney Island," she said.

Other officials were more skeptical.

They note that when Sitt bought the Albee Square Mall on Fulton Street five years ago for $24 million, he talked about giving the gritty site the same type of Vegas-style makeover he's now pitching for Coney Island.

Instead, Sitt spent $10 million rehabbing the mall - which he renamed The Gallery at Fulton Street - but never followed through on his grand plan.

Then after the city rezoned to allow for larger development there, Sitt sat on the mall before finally agreeing last January to sell it for $125 million.

"It's a great deal for him and it's going to bring larger-scale development there by the new buyer, but it's not going to be the 'Bellagio of malls' that Sitt said he was going to turn it into," a source said.

In Coney Island, Sitt last year sold one of the properties he bought for $90 million - a 168,000-square-foot tract known as the Washington Bath House site - after the city said it would allow residential development there.

A spokesman for Thor Equities, Lee Silberstein, insisted that the company isn't planning to back out of Coney Island.

Thor is "confident that working [with the Bloomberg administration], it will be able to rebuild Coney Island as a place worthy of its great legacy," he said.

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Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 12:03 PM
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NY Post

'FREAK'-OUT OVER CONEY CONDO PLAN

By RICH CALDER
March 27, 2007

Get ready for a Coney Island freak show on the steps of City Hall.

A group upset over a developer's push to build luxury housing in the heart of the famed amusement district has organized a "No Condos in Coney" rally for Friday at City Hall - featuring burlesque performers and other quirky characters dressed in mermaid outfits, face paint and wild attire.

The hundreds expected to show support for the city's plan to make over the seaside amusement district without any residential buildings are then planning a march up Broadway that could rival the annual Mermaid Parade.

"This is going to be a celebration of the true spirit of Coney Island, which I believe [developer Thor Equities] can't comprehend," event organizer Diana Carlin, 33, said.

Asked about the rally, Thor issued a statement saying it "shares the view that Coney Island needs to be saved, which is why . . . Thor's plan calls for the largest investment ever made in new amusements."
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2007, 11:44 AM
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CONEY IS. CONDO PULLBACK

By RICH CALDER
March 28, 2007

A developer proposing a $2 billion, Vegas-style entertainment complex for Coney Island is desperately trying to convince City Hall to back it by shifting more than 900 planned luxury condo units away from the boardwalk and into one 40-story tower.

Project spokesman Lee Silberstein revealed at a recent community meeting that Thor Equities is considering confining the project's controversial residential housing to Stillwell Avenue's west side near Surf Avenue.

That's a change from the previous proposal, which called for spreading the housing out in four Stillwell locations within the proposed 425,000-square-foot amusement complex.

The new plan would dramatically reduce a 515-foot-high tower slated for the Stillwell boardwalk to a height similar to the nearby 262-foot Parachute Jump; that tower would contain time-share residences.

The revisions would allow riders of the nearby Cyclone roller coaster to retain Parachute Jump views.
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2007, 9:01 PM
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Proposal for the Coney Island Aquarium...


More Coney Island Aquarium Redo Renderings





Wednesday, November 1, 2006

After yesterday's publication of a couple of more "visions" of the future Coney Island in all of its odd dystopian glory, the additional renderings and models from one of the finalists vying to redesign the butt ugly utilitarian New York Aquarium are almost a breath of fresh air. (At least, there are no mermaids with pumpkins on their asses.) It may or may not win and get built, but they're pretty cool. This is the propsal from WRT and Cloud9. More images after the jump if you click through.

Aquarium Design Proposal

BONUS: The city digs the Thor Coney vision. Coney Island Development Corp. interim president Joshua Sirefman tells the Post their latest renderings "show the right kind of energy that we've always talked about for Coney Island." But, Coney blogger Kinetic Carnival says they look like "lesser quality rejects" of drawings mistakenly released this summer and a "rehash."


Copyright © 2006 Curbed

that looks bad ass
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 10:52 PM
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damn. i thought having a 500 foot glassy looking tower overlooking the ocean would have been fantastic. I don't see an issue in building that there. coney Island was on its last legs. Its become entirely ghetto and rundown. It has only 2 rides worthy of its history. It needs a massive transfusion and this is it. the aquarium is better than i thought they were going to settle for. Because im such a fan of superlatives, ofcourse I wanted to have to have the biggest and best aquarium in the world but space is limited. (unless they want to build southwards onto a pier over the water. how cool would that be!!) The whole plan, the blimp, the giant ferris wheel on a pier, the tower, the cobbled stone street with the year round nightlife, this is all things that are needed and will bring in a new demographic that the park needs to maintain itself in the years to come. Status quo would be a disaster in less than a decade.
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