Saturday, February 10, 2007

City Kow-Tows To Thor’s Hammer

Last week, the city held a special sit-down meeting with Thor to discuss the easing back of their previous stance against cutting off slivers of the amusement areas in the name of rezoning. Or at least as they’ve also stressed before: to ensure that Coney’s main attraction be attractions.

As the Bay News reported they seem to be doing both, anyway:

The city may be closer to allowing for some residential housing in the amusement and entertainment district of Coney Island.
At the meeting were Markowitz, City council member Domenic Reccia, Coney Island Development Corporation Chair and the city’s point man on the area Josh Sirefman, and Thor Equities president Joe Sitt.
All present mutually agreed that the main focus of Coney should stay as an amusement and entertainment district that is private sector driven, but where the means is from the public sector.

However, if the main focus is on the amusement and entertainment areas - by curtailing what is already a diminished amusement area – what will likely stand out will be high rise luxury condominiums that Thor commanded are priority to ensure the project to go forward.

The city did go on to state that they want to ensure a “nice amountof amusement and entertainment uses that allow for residential units to be built.

Nice amount mean the city is now in open agreement with reducing the amusement zone to allow more space to build the condominiums.

Therefore it seems that the condominiums will probably either be part of what is now Astroland or perhaps Thor is intending to place the residential buildings in their other lots. Where the mini golf course sat, the batting cages and go-karts were, or where the Henderson building is. (though that lot may be too small).

There was no mention about a hotel in the Bay News article about the meeting. According to the latest artist rendering of Coney Island Park, it may be that the ghostly building standing at Surf Avenue and towering over the rest of the small amusement area could be the hotel.

Either way, this is all indicating that Thor is tightening their reign over the city and will have the rezoning they are aiming for.

One positive point from the city is that they want to also ensure some kind of formula to secure the amusements which would be through the issuance of special permits while building. Not to allow temporary certificates of occupancy (TCO) for the construction of any residential building until a good portion of the amusement and entertainment area of the project is at some certain phase of construction. If the city sticks to gaining this formula, then it will demonstrate that they are serious about the importance of the amusement area - even though it will, most likely, be much smaller that it is now.

All in all it may seem understandable that a private sector is needed to make the amusement area feasible. But it would have been great if Thor and Taconic purchased more property at the outskirts of the main amusement district and build the condos and hotel there.

At conclusion, the meeting was adjourned with the agreement of spearheading the rezoning because, as Thor has demanded, it is the only way for Coney Island to stay clear of its impending doom scenario: of it being flattened down to a huge oasis of empty lots greeting us as we exit the Stillwell terminal and scoffing at them as we rush towards the uncrowded beach.

Thrills, chills and housing - Developers push residential units for amusement area [Bay News]

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