Monday, June 18, 2007

Redone Coney Island Plans: The Devil is in the Details

New Coney Render One

Yesterday, we received an email from Thor Equities spokesperson Tom Corsillo noting that Thor had dropped housing from its Coney Island plans and that the new plan would conform to the city's strategic plan for Coney Island. Today, of course, the story is all over the press, with most headlines noting that Thor has backed off from condo.

There were no details in the email that went out yesterday, but we immediately wondered how many hotel rooms were involved. That led us to wondering if luxury condos might be replaced by condo hotels and/or time shares. (The city's best known such animal is a very controversial condo hotel tower being built in Soho by Donald Trump that skirt zoning barring residential buildings.)

Well, the New York Times fills in some detail on the new plans, including the fact that there are three hotels, that some building heights still exceed the landmark Parachute Jump and that Thor is looking for a $100 million public subsidy.

Here is the key verbiage in the Times story:
Robert Lieber, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, described Mr. Sitt’s new plan as a “wolf dressed up as a sheep.” Mr. Lieber, along with neighborhood leaders and other city officials, had expressed fears that residents of new apartment buildings would not fit comfortably with the noisy, all-hours amusement district that would be preserved between West Eighth Street and the Aquarium and the minor league baseball stadium at West 16th Street.

The new plan keeps the concept of a new glass-enclosed water park, but instead of apartments calls for three hotels, including more than 400 time-share units, along with restaurants, shops, movie theaters and high-tech arcades. The latest renderings depict a pulsating entertainment complex with an Elephant Colossus statue and architecture that evokes the old Luna Park and Dreamland amusement parks.

Mr. Lieber and others say that the time-share units look an awful lot like apartments and that the complex looks more like a mall than Coney Island.

“He came in last week and presented a plan that had essentially the same density, but dressed it up with hotels and time shares,” Mr. Lieber said on Friday. “The building heights still exceed the 271-foot Parachute Jump,” a Coney Island landmark. “And he’s looking for a huge subsidy from the city. North of $100 million.”
The plans are smaller than earlier versions and one of the towers along Stillwell Avenue has disappeared. We await the plans and all the details and are particularly interested in the $100M+ subsidy the project would require.

New Coney Render Two

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Blogger Nichole said...

Where is the Wonder Wheel? I thought it was a landmark..?

1:09 PM  

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