Thursday, November 16, 2006

More Coney v 2.1 Information in Thor's Own Words

We generally won't run a press release, but will make an exception in this case by excerpting the release that went with the new renderings of the Thor Equities Coney Island project. The document highlights several aspects of the plan--the new roller coaster, an indoor water park and a multi-story carousel. Here is a bit of what it says:
Thor Equities, known for developing community-based projects across the United States, has recently acquired approximately 10 acres of property along the Coney Island Boardwalk. The company’s vision for the area includes amusement attractions, hotels, retail, a limited amount of residential housing and a variety of culinary options. Thor Equities is committed to ensuring that its vision is in-line with the local community, and includes implementation of job training and recruitment programs to ensure that the economic benefits generated by the project remain in the area.

The plan seeks to create a welcoming gateway that links Surf Avenue to the historic Boardwalk and the beach. According to Thor’s vision, Stillwell will become the future favorite stroll and promenade for Brooklyn’s families, a place of magic, romance and a continuous show of lights, sounds, water and colors punctuated with animated rides for all ages.

Light and water shows – with virtual whales and mermaids dancing 150 feet in the air through a cascading waterfall -- will greet visitors at Surf Avenue and Stillwell Walk, directly across from the recently renovated train station. Surf Avenue itself will be transformed from a desolate street now used mainly as a parking lot to the area's main pedestrian thoroughfare, marked by larger than life iconic street furniture, such as a mermaid swimming in a martini glass and a tattooed elephant roaming the streets. Meanwhile, the adjacent Bowery will be reinvented as the permanent street festival, midway and sideshow.

Peter Cavaluzzi FAIA , design principal at EE&K said, “Our design is all about re-establishing a vigorous and enthralling amusement experience that will serve area residents and attract more visitors to Coney Island. The re-establishment of the Coney Island amusement attractions will take place on many levels, in every part of the district, and for every type of visitor.”

More details of the plan unveiled today show a fully integrated amusement destination, with a moving tower of water, lights, and colors changing throughout the seasons and on various holidays. All of the proposed new rides will be designed to work together to provide a constantly changing sound and light show with regular animation all year long, seven days a week.

Thor Equities also has a commitment to complement, rather than compete with Coney Island’s iconic amusements, such as the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump. By creating a year-round destination, these landmark amusements will reap the benefits of increased rider ship and the increased visitors will allow these rides to remain open for a longer season.

In addition to the rides, plans call for recapturing some of the ‘softer’ amusements that were common during Coney Island’s heyday, such as roof gardens with dining options and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, cinemas, restaurants at various price levels and catering facilities for family events.
We still believe the real story is Thor's push to rezone part of the amusement area for residential development. We also continue to wonder why a planning and development time frame that would have construction starting in 2008 at the very earliest, requires evictions in 2006, unless it's part of the overall strategy. Nonetheless if you're interested in Thor's own spin, there you have it.

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