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Breaking Coney Island Bombshell: City Planning Takeover

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Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and City Planning Commission head Amanda Burden just wrapped up a lunchtime press conference on and at Coney Island, and boy, was it a doozy. Like everyone else, the city's head honchos are frustrated by the completely effed up situation regarding Thor Equities' redevelopment of Coney Island, and now they're ready to do something about it.

Curbed's Robert Guskind was live on the scene, and here's the biggest headline: the city wants to carve Coney Island into three zones. The area between the Cyclone and Keyspan Park, known as Coney East, would be designated as park land, and leased out to an amusement operator (Disney, Six Flags: are you listening?). How will the city pry this land from Thor Equities boss Joe Sitt? By offering up the Keyspan Park parking lot for mixed-use development (as previously suggested), as well as by paying him a crapload of money. Oh, and there's always eminent domain! Doctoroff pretty much laid the smack down on Sitt, saying the city is looking for a developer "with real, world-class experience in developing a one of a kind attraction. It's very very different from building a shopping center." BURN!

?Coney North (area surrounding Stillwell Avenue station): Could be rezoned for 1,800 housing units and 100,000-square-feet of retail.
?Coney West (around Keyspan Park, including parking lot and land owned by Taconic): could be rezoned for 2,700 units and 360,000sf of retail.
?Coney East: the 15 acres of new park land, leased out to an amusement operator to keep the Coney spirit alive, with a suggested $10 million city subsidy to get the wheels moving.

We'll have more analysis later, but here's the initial take: The spat between Thor and city officials over housing has spiraled so far out of control that Bloomberg just wants to wipe the slate clean and start over. To do this, he's willing to let Thor and Taconic build up Coney Island, but not in the amusement area, like Sitt wanted. It's both a good day and a bad day for Sitt. For one, he was dressed down in public (he wasn't in attendance) and everyone thinks he's a fuckup. But now he gets to flip his land back to the city and make an absolute killing. Said Doctoroff: "Sitt will be afforded the opportunity to swap his land for another parcel, or for cash, at a premium. We think it will be very compelling." Looks like he'll be laughing all the way to the bank.
· Trick or Treat #2: Scary Stuff in Coney Island [Curbed]
· Astroland Granted One-Year Stay of Execution [Curbed]
· Thor's Coney Island Plan 'Dead in the Water,' Official Says [Curbed]