$2.5B Coney Island Renewal Plan Awaits Action

Summer is still a few months away, but city officials and planners are already turning their thoughts to the future of Coney Island, the legendary but declining resort area in Brooklyn. Next Wednesday evening, representatives of the city and the Coney Island business community will discuss the city’s plans for the site during a panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York. A draft environmental impact statement for the city’s $2.5 billion Coney Island master plan is expected to be ready this summer, and some elements of the plan could get under way by next year, according to the website plannyc.org.  The city’s vision for Coney Island centers on re-zoning a 15-acre site containing the site’s famed amusement area as city parkland in order to preserve it in perpetuity. The plan would save the beachside community’s famously offbeat attractions while incorporating new rides, attractions and retail. The plan also calls for more than 1 million square feet of new development that could include restaurants, water parks, movie theaters and amusement attractions. Another big element calls for more than 4,000 housing units and 500,000 square feet of retail space.  Some aspects of the city’s plan are at odds with plans by Thor Equities, a private developer that owns a significant parcel of the Coney Island amusement area. City officials have taken issue with some aspects of Thor’s proposal, such as plans to develop residential timeshares on the site.