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Mayor’s plan is fair, Taconic sez - Major landowner signs on to city’s plan to redevelop Coney Island

The developer that owns the Childs Restaurant Building and about six other acres in Coney Island last week endorsed the city’s rezoning plan for the area.

Charles Bendit, co-CEO of Taconic Investment Partners, called the Bloomberg administration’s rezoning plan one negotiated in good faith with local property owners, community leaders and elected officials.

“It [the city’s plan] reflects smart urban planning, an inspired vision for restoring Coney’s energy and excitement, and the creation of housing affordable to a wide range of incomes. And, importantly, it is fair to all stakeholders,” said Bendit.

“Now the plans must move forward on a fast track before this incredible opportunity to revitalize one of New York’s most precious assets is lost,” he added.

Besides Childs, Taconic owns property next to the landmark building on the Boardwalk and West 22nd Street, as well as property on the north side of Surf Avenue across the street from KeySpan Park.

Under the city’s plan, Taconic will be able to build mixed-use residential and retail at both locations.

Taconic also released general plans for their properties, including the development of about 2.2 million square feet of residential space and some 200,000 square feet of retail.

This will result in about 2,000 new residential units, including 400 units of affordable housing.

The retail will be primarily service-oriented stores like supermarkets, drug stores and dry cleaners that cater to the needs of the community, as well as smaller-scale neighborhood cafes and shops.

“Our project will create significant opportunities for Coney Island’s residents by providing sorely needed community-oriented retail, creating thousands of temporary and permanent jobs, and providing a mix of affordable and market rate housing to help stabilize the social fabric of the neighborhood,” said Bendit.

Bendit said while Taconic is still developing its long-term plan for the Child’s building, it is committed to fully restoring its luster and prominence.

“We’re working on some outstanding concepts that will be implemented as Coney Island’s renewal moves forward. Our goal is to re-establish the historic Child’s building as an icon of a thriving community,” he said.

However, Bendit also noted that with the downturn in the economy it is important the rezoning be fast-tracked.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before us to renew one of the great playgrounds of the 20th century, but we must act quickly to capitalize on this opportunity,” said Bendit.

“Everyone involved must realize time is not on Coney Island’s side. The moment to act is now,” he added.

Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) President Lynn Kelly said she is thrilled about Taconic’s support for the Coney Island redevelopment plan.

“To have a major land owner back our efforts is a significant step in the right direction. We look forward to continuing our work with Taconic and the other developers in the area as we move through the ULURP process,” Kelly said.

A public scoping meeting on the redevelopment plan is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at Lincoln High School, 2800 Ocean Parkway.

To view the details of the plan, log onto www.thecidc.org.

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