The Coney Island catfight is finally over: The city has come to an agreement with land baron Joe Sitt of Thor Equities to acquire seven of Sitt's 12.5 total acres of prime Coney land (R.I.P. Astroland). The deal, to be announced at a press conference tomorrow, is necessary to push ahead with Mayor Bloomberg's ambitious redevelopment of the People's Playground, and some sort of agreement had been expected ever since the rezoning of the area was strong-armed through over the summer. For a saga that's had more twists and turns than a ride on the Cyclone (and has caused more headaches), the ending couldn't have come soon enough.
Sitt spent just over $90 million acquiring the Coney land in 2005, and for years has halfheartedly pursued his own redevelopment plan while evicting businesses and demanding upwards of $140 million from the city for the 10.5 acres Bloomberg wanted. Nastiness has reigned on both sides, and in the end he'll get $95.7 million in taxpayer skrilla for seven acres, a slightly ridiculous amount given the market value of land nowadays. Sitt says he'll develop hotels and stores on his remaining land. Meanwhile, the city will seek out an interim amusement operator for Coney Island before going after a developer that'll create a year-round wonderland. Check back on that around 2067 or so.
· City to Buy 7 Acres in Coney Island, Hoping to Spark a Revival [NYT]
· Coney Island Redevelopment coverage [Curbed]