It's been a long time coming, but on Thursday, the city finally issued permits for construction to begin on iStar Financial's waterfront amphitheater complex in Coney Island, the Observer reports. The permit allows for rehabilitation work on the historic Childs Restaurant, which has been vacant since 1952 and was granted landmark designation in 2003.
Originally slated to open this month, the amphitheater project (once championed by former Borough President Marty Markowitz) has been in development limbo for a long time. Last year, neighborhood activists sued iStar, contesting ownership of the land after the firm bulldozed a beloved community garden in the middle of the night. The suit contested ownership of the land and argued that the garden was public parkland.
In April, iStar sold Childs Restaurant and other land to the city for $16.1 million, who then leased the land to Seaside Park LLC, a joint venture between iStar and Coney Island USA, a neighborhood non-profit (and organizer of the annual Mermaid Parade).
"We see this as the first major capital investment in the Coney West district since the district was established under the 2009 rezoning," said a spokesperson for the city's Economic Development Corporation. "It is intended to spur further mixed-use development in the area by rehabilitating a city landmark and creating active open space, retail, and entertainment uses."
· iStar Amps Up for Coney Island Landmark Conversion [Commercial Observer]
· All Coney Island Amphitheater coverage [Curbed]
· All Childs Restaurant coverage [Curbed]