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Coney Island’s largest outdoor amusement property owner this week ripped into the person charged with spearheading the city’s massive rezoning of the area.
In a letter written to Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) board members, Thor Equities attorney Jesse Masyr accused CIDC President Lynn Kelly of making “misstatements and outright falsehoods” in the press about the company.
Thor and its principal, Joe Sitt, own about nine acres in the heart of the zoned outdoor amusement area, including the now-shuttered Astroland.
“Recently, Ms. Kelly has bizarrely intimated that Thor wants to keep its land vacant in order to force the city to give us a favorable rezoning and the company is somehow rooting for our own businesses to fail,” wrote Masyr.
“Not only does this show a blatant misunderstanding of how real estate developers operate, it is particularly absurd given today’s economic climate. Thor’s inability to build anything permanent is a direct result of the city’s inability to pass any zoning whatsoever to this point,” he added.
Masyr also stated Kelly continues to erroneously say that Thor wants to build “luxury condos,” when for over a year Thor’s plans for the area have not contained a single residential unit.
“Ms. Kelly recently stated that without the passage of the city’s proposed zoning, Coney Island will be left with nothing but large-scale retail development,” wrote Masyr.
“This is a complete falsehood. The current zoning in place does not permit such large-scale retail development and it is not conceivable that this fact is not known to Ms. Kelly.”
Masyr also took umbrage to recently labeling Thor’s “Summer of Hope” as a flop when nearly 7,000 Coney Island residents – many of them first-time visitors to the amusement zone — got to experience games and rides free of charge.
“Thor has said time and again that our goal is to work with the city to build a Coney Island that provides for a year-round revitalized community while remaining faithful to its historic nature,” wrote Masyr.
“Make no mistake, her personal attacks on Thor do not create one new job, do not repair one inch of the boardwalk and certainly do not bring the city any closer to a viable plan to revitalizing this national treasure,” he added.
While singling out Kelly for criticism, Masyr did write that other members of the administration have shown a willingness to work with the company and recognize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Coney Island great once again.
The letter comes as the city prepares a massive rezoning of the area that they say will help save portions of the fabled amusement area and reopen the entire neighborhood to economic development.
City sources said the rezoning certification will come sometime this winter, which will kick off the various city and state entities, whose involvement is needed for final rezoning approval.
Kelly said that rather than respond point-by-point to the letter, she will remain focused on getting the rezoning done.
“I am not interested in getting into a personal back-and-forth with Thor Equities and that Thor’s history speaks for itself,” said Kelly.
“I’m not concerned about Thor’s statements. I’m concerned about keeping my eyes on the prize and making sure the rezoning is done,” she said.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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