Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thor begins to stomp out development foot print on Coney

First structure to possibly go to make way for the new Coney is the Henderson building on the corner of Stillwell Ave./Henderson Walk & Surf Ave to the Bowery. The property now owned by Thor Equities, which as early as last week assured their tenants not to worry about being evicted for the next year has now turned around and handed most of its tenants a 90 day notice to vacate the premises.

[photo by betty blade -]
Speculation had it that the building was structurally unsound and must be taken down. But Dick Zigun, of Coney Island U.S.A. and on the board of directors at CIDC, Coney Island Development Corporation has confirmed and said, “Bringing in a structural engineer or the Buildings Department to certify that Henderson's might be in bad shape would obviously be a strong arm tactic to negotiate a sooner rather than later vacancy by tenants in Henderson's who do have leases such as Popeyes.” But, he adds, “...all in all this seems to be more about a general emptying of newly acquired properties of tenants rather than a specific issue with the structural integrity of Henderson's building.
For the sake of accuracy, I have been told that Thor's tenants on the Boardwalk including Ruby's and Cha-Cha's and Ocean Grill House were not given notice. And Norman Kaufman says he was not given any notice for his miniature golf or batting cage or go-karts.”

With that, Zigun confirms that Thor has given notice to most of their newly acquired tenants in the Henderson's building and beyond! Those include owner and operator of the Zipper and Spider rides on West 12th, McCullough's Kiddie Park at Bowery & West 12th, Caesar's games on the Bowery, and Slim who operates Balloon Racing game on the Bowery.

[photo by jessrawk -]
Regardless, of who has been given notices as of yet. This is just the beginning of Thor clearing its land up for the zone that will mark the first construction site towards the revitalization of the New Coney.

During the last year Zigun and his organization attempted to save the Henderson’s Building as well as other structures in the amusement area by nominating them for landmark status with the Landmark Preservations Society.

The building, known as the Old Henderson Dance Hall on Stillwell has hosted fleabag hotels (Surf Hotel) and amusements and a night club (Velocity)

Zigun laments, “Although this all breaks my is not unexpected. If tenants are seasonal and do not have leases...and if Thor is the new owner of property then they have a right under the American system of capitalism and private property to do this. If they are going to build something new then we all know they have to demolish what is old and not land-marked. Let us not be naive and admit that this is what is coming to some of old Coney Island whether for summer of 2007 or 2008".

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