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Michele De Meglio
Ready or not, here it comes.
Despite a firestorm of controversy coming from all sides, the proposed rezoning proposal for Coney Island is about to enter the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
On October 6, members of Community Board 13’s Executive Committee will meet with city officials to review the rezoning proposal.
That meeting will be in advance of a certification meeting set to be held at the Department of City Planning on October 14.
Community Board 13 Chair Marion Cleaver said that she will enter next week’s meeting with an open mind, but that she is nonetheless “torn” over the city’s rezoning proposal.
“To me [there should be] more amusements,” Cleaver said. “I understand the reasoning behind the residential component of it but looking at Coney Island with everything almost gone and trying to envision Astroland gone is sad.”
Speaking to this paper after last week’s meeting of Community Board 13, Astroland owner Carol Albert said the amusement park has, indeed, likely had its last day.
“I really don’t think there’s any possibility,” she revealed. “Astroland is over in Coney Island short of a miracle.”
As for the famous rides, like Break Dance and Dante’s Inferno, they could soon leave Coney Island.
“They’re in the hands of the ride brokers,” Albert explained.
The rides can either be sold individually or in a full group to a single bidder.
“There was a single purchaser who wanted to take all the rides and move them,” Albert said.
The Albert family is currently considering the offer.
During the CB 13 meeting, which was held at Coney Island Hospital, Albert addressed her fellow board members and offered a brief history about Astroland’s demise.
Albert explained that when she was initially approached by Thor Equities, she rejected the offer. In consultation with her family, she decided to develop the land herself. She went so far as to have renderings made of what her redesigned property could look like.
“People liked the drawings,” Albert explained.
However, a series of postponed and cancelled meetings with city officials and potential development partners left Albert believing that the “climate” wasn’t right for her own redesign. Further discouraging her were the promises from the city and Thor Equities that groundbreakings were about to begin.
Feeling that she couldn’t compete with a mega-developer like Thor Equities Chair Joe Sitt, Albert agreed to sell when approached by Thor for a second time.
Six months later, when it seemed the city and Thor were at odds about the redevelopment plans, Albert began to regret her decision to sell.
A source familiar with latest version of the city’s rezoning proposal said that it appears an extra street has been included in the plan near Coney East which might allow Wonder Wheel owner Dennis Vourderis to develop it.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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