City Announces Huge April 1 Toll, Thor, Ratner Land Swap
Gowanus Lounge has learned that the city has engineered a huge land swap to simultaneously address major Gowanus, Atlantic Yards and Coney Island development issues. "Sometimes things don't work out the way we'd like and we all have to deal with it," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in announcing what he called the Brooklyn Three Way. The Three Way was worked out by departed Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, who brokered the arrangement as a volunteer working while on a business trip in Japan. The City Ethics Board okayed Mr. Doctoroff's shuttle diplomacy.
The broad outline of the arrangement is that Mr. Sitt, who is reviled in Coney Island, will replace Mr. Ratner, who is disliked in Prospect Heights, Park Slope and other surrounding neighborhoods. Mr. Ratner will, instead, develop Gowanus, freeing up the Toll Brothers, for whom there is little neighborhood love, to work in Coney Island, where they have no known opponents. Mr. Doctoroff acknowledged, however, that Mr. Ratner would have some remedial work to do on his image in Gowanus.
The Sitt Switch would work like this: rather than swapping city land in Coney Island for Mr. Sitt's holdings in the Coney Island Amusement District, the city will trade land held by Forest City Ratner at Flatbush & Atlantic Avenue. Mr. Sitt will develop a Coney Island-themed condo project called The Boardwalk at Prospect Heights that will include seven 40-story towers designed by a Starchitect All Star team including Renzo Piano, Daniel Liebeskind, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Mies van der Rohe. Mr. van der Rohe's posthumus participation is made possible because of the discovery of a building known as The Lost Mies. "The Mies is mine," Mr. Sitt said. The development will include a 4 million square foot shopping mall called the Great Mall of Coney that will include the nation's largest Ferris Wheel, an indoor ski slope and a harness racing track. It will also include the Flatbush Sea, the world's first wave pool with an artificial, year-round controlled environment built over a rail yard. "I'm thrilled," Mr. Doctoroff said. "We couldn't have found a better shopping center developer."
Mr. Ratner, meanwhile, has acquired development rights to all of Gowanus and promised to develop a new stadium near the Carroll Street Bridge whose working name is the Gowanus Dome. The state will seize all land between Third Avenue, Bond Street, Ninth Street and Butler Street via a new program called Maximum Eminent Domain. The city also agreed to give the developer naming rights to the entire Gowanus area and there were reports that he had met with Apple's Steve Jobs to discuss the rebranding of the once reviled and toxic neighborhood as the iHood. In the scheme, the Gowanus Dome would actually be the iDome and the Gowanus Houses, while being preserved to show Mr. Ratner's commitment to affordable housing, would be renamed the iPads and slowly transition to market rate after undergoing a renovation and getting new interiors from Andres Escobar. Mr. Ratner is said to be weighing plans to fill in the canal and use the land as publicly accessible open space or turning it into the world's first eco-realistic artificial rapids. "Eco-realism," he said, "demands that we leave it in its current state so the rapids will be more exciting." Mr. Ratner said he had rejected a proposal to rebrand the Gowanus Rapids as the Crap Chute. "The water will speak for itself," he said.
The Toll Brothers, meanwhile, have been given the rights to redevelop Coney Island from Brighton Beach to Seagate, but will preserve a three-block core of amusements because, in the words of McMansion Guru Robert Toll, "everybody likes rides." The developer showed plans that included a square mile of detached McMansions that would be built by a new Suburbs in the City branch of the firm's urban development operation. The firm showed a rendering of a real estate-themed amusement park that would be built at Stillwell and Surf Avenues. It would have a real estate Roller Coaster Ride that would loop in and out of amusements designed to look like condo towers but that would actually be entertainment venues, games of chance and souvenir stands. The looping roller coaster, which is being designed by a new firm in Hamburg, Germany, would be called the Boom & Bust and would feature the worlds largest vertical drop--almost 90 degrees. It would include a Sub-Prime corkscrew and a series of 15 loops called the Market Apocalypse. The park would also include a new high-tech ride called Mr. Housing Bubble in which riders would be lifted 25 stories in the air in a huge clear bubble hoisted on a tower. The bubble would seem to explode at the pinnacle and via virtual immersion technology, riders would have the sensation of plunging in a free fall 25 stories to their demise. In reality, the bubble would gently fall via an attached wire and the riders would emerge into a virtual environment called Williamsburg of the Future, which is designed to simulate the waterfront neighborhood in 2020 after an economic and social calamity. As part of the plan the New York Aquarium would be converted to a new thrill ride called Waterworld 2060 which take riders on a survival adventure through Brooklyn after global warming raises sea levels.
Mr. Toll would only say that the attraction would involve the illusion of drowning, "just like the Boom & Bust and Mr. Housing Bubble. It's a theme park? Get it?"
(Any resemblance in the preceding post between actual news events and those described is purely coincidental.)