Joe Sitt wants to talk about Red Hook these days; not Coney Island.
At least that’s the main point the largest Coney Island landholder impressed upon me Tuesday afternoon when I bumped into him after a Brooklyn Historical Society real estate luncheon.
“We’re excited,” he said about Coney, adding that there would be an announcement in coming weeks about his plans for the summer (a flea market, he noted when queried, is only part of the plan).
Declining to comment further on Coney, Mr. Sitt was somewhat more forthcoming when it came to his planned developments for Red Hook and Shore Parkway in southern Brooklyn. While he hasn’t released many details about the two developments, it is expected both will be big-box retail, assuming he can get the city (which doesn’t seem to be all that happy with him these days on account of a perceived intransigence at Coney) to go along with needed zoning changes. While the city wasn’t too keen on an earlier Red Hook plan that included residential, Mr. Sitt seemed more optimistic about his current plan for the former Revere Sugar Factory.
Mr. Sitt said he did not have any firm commitments from tenants for the developments, though he claims to already have financing in hand.
“We’ve got the capital for both these projects,” he said. “As soon as we finish formulating our plans, which we have not yet but we’re in the middle of it, then we’ll go knock on doors in terms of the city and trying to work with them in terms of the zoning parameters and what tenants we think we’ll be able to get at that time.
“The bottom line is they are projects that have financing, and as soon as we go to government, if we get buy-in from government, overnight, we could be creating jobs for the city,” he said.
Then again, it doesn’t seem like malls in the city are doing all that swell these days. Dale Hemmerdinger just lost his Shops at Atlas Park in Queens to foreclosure, and from Rego Park to Fort Greene, the fall of Circuit City is likely to open up large swaths of space.