News & Politics

Thor Throws a Coney Island Curveball

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No condos for Coney? Photo by Sidney Lo

Developers Thor Equities dropped a bombshell yesterday afternoon, sending
out a terse
two-paragraph e-mail
declaring that it had “completely eliminated the
residential component of its proposed plan” and will instead offer “a plan
that is compatible with the City’s strategic plan.” In other words, no
condos for Coney.

The odd timing of the announcement—did Thor principal Joe Sitt have a
Father’s Day epiphany?—was partially explained last night, when the
Monday Times put live on its website, and included an article by
Charles Bagli
reporting that Sitt had caved on his condo demand last
Friday. (“Rolled over” is how Sitt put it to Bagli.) But Bagli also
reports that the new “compatible” plan is not so compatible at all in the
city’s eyes:

“He came in last week and presented a plan that had
essentially the same density, but dressed it up with hotels and time
shares,” [city Economic Development Corporation president Robert] Lieber
said on Friday. “The building heights still exceed the 271-foot Parachute
Jump,” a Coney Island landmark. “And he’s looking for a huge subsidy from
the city. North of $100 million.”

If Sitt was hoping to cut a deal with the city by swapping condos for time
shares, in other words, he looks to be barking up the wrong tree—
especially when you consider that Lieber is the highest-ranking official
yet to have dissed Thor’s plans, and in some of the city’s strongest
language to date.

For Coney Kremlinologists, meanwhile, the juiciest item in Bagli’s story
might be the rendering
of Thor’s newest plans
, which look to include a multiplex movie
theater on the current Astroland site and a pair of 20-plus-story hotels
along Stillwell Avenue. (Or perhaps in the middle of Stillwell Avenue—
the artist appears to have failed perspective drawing.) Of course, the
illustration also portrays a Coney Island of the future that’s missing the
Steeplechase Pier, the landmarked Wonder Wheel, and Keyspan Park, so
perhaps it’s best not to take this latest of Thor’s ever-changing plans too
literally.

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