Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Mayor Announces $95.6 Million Coney Island Deal

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday that the city will buy most of the fabled Coney Island boardwalk for $95.6 million, and said he wanted the Brooklyn landmark to be a permanent amusement area.

The city will purchase 6.9 acres, mostly situated along the waterfront, from Thor Equities, making 11 acres of a proposed 12.5-acre amusement park public property.

The mayor also said in the City Hall press conference that 10 acres would be ready for business by next summer.

City officials want to turn the area in several years into a year-round entertainment destination with hotels, restaurants, retail space and a new roller coaster.

Sources tell NY1 that private developer Joe Sitt will retain 6.5 acres in Brooklyn to build hotels, restaurants and stores.

At the press conference, both Bloomberg and Sitt described the deal as a "win-win" situation. The mayor also promised the project would help create jobs and more affordable housing in the area.

"This was the last piece of the puzzle, and it really marks the beginning of a new era in Coney Island's history," said Bloomberg. "It means that next summer, Coney Island will be back in a big way. It means that we're moving full steam ahead with our plan to restore Coney Island to its rightful place as America's greatest seaside amusement park."

The group "Save Coney Island" says the city needs to purchase all the land or Coney Island's future will still be at risk.

"It is not enough to mitigate some of the damage that the city's own rezoning could create. The area zoned for outdoor amusements remains way too small. It remains hemmed in by what could be an indoor entertainment retail mall. And, the whole thing remains blocked off by a series of high rise hotels that really don't belong there," said Juan Rivero of "Save Coney Island."

The Economic Development Corporation will still need to approve the sale.

Locals had mixed reactions to the land deal.

"This is going to give a lift to Coney Island, I believe so," said one New Yorker.

"I think it's long overdue, honestly," said another. "It's been like a dead zone here for a really long time, and I think there needs to be some new development to bring in some new revenue, make it a little more exciting for the city."

"I don't like it," said a third resident. "Coney Island is an amusement area, but it should have real housing. Not what they want to do."

The city will reportedly send representatives to a Las Vegas convention next week to solicit operators for a temporary amusement park.

The City Council overwhelmingly approved a rezoning plan for the area in July.

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