Thursday, February 15, 2007

City Planning Director Opposes Coney Island Condo Towers

Coney Scale O Matic Final

Fascinating news that Amanda Burden, the Planning Commission Chair, is against residential highrises in the Coney Island amusement district. Crain's has reported (in a story covering multiple topics, including plans for the Garment District)that Ms. Burden is against building residential highrises in Coney Island. This would be at odds with earlier reports that the city might cut a deal with developer Joe Sitt, who is clearing land in Coney Island but who has threatened not to build without a rezoning that allows highrise residential development. In any case, Crain's reports:
The commissioner also, for the first time, publicly opposed construction of residential towers as part of a plan to revitalize the Coney Island amusement park. Thor Equities' chief executive, Joseph Sitt, wants to give the boardwalk a $2 billion makeover but insists that the residences are needed to make the project work financially. He is seeking a rezoning that would accommodate his project.

"Amusements are incompatible with immediately adjacent residential use," Ms. Burden said, adding that she nevertheless wants to see Coney Island restored to its iconic amusement park stature." She supports new housing elsewhere in Coney Island.

Towers are more welcome further north in Brooklyn. Ms. Burden said she would consider proposals for new skyscrapers that top the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank, the borough's tallest building.

Late last year, downtown Brooklyn developer Forest City Ratner Cos. bowed to community objections and agreed to shrink the tallest tower in its $4 billion arena/office tower plan -- nicknamed Miss Brooklyn -- so that it would not top the bank building. Designed by project architect Frank Gehry, Miss Brooklyn would have risen to 620 feet.
Ms. Burden is, in fact, quite supportive of the Atlantic Yards project.

Related Post:
City Ready to Allow Highrise Condos Near Coney Boardwalk

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