The City Council approved the Bloomberg administration-backed rezoning of Coney Island on Wednesday afternoon in a 44-2-1 vote. While the city is still negotiating with the rezoned area’s main private landlord—Thor Equities’ Joe Sitt—the two long-opposed parties may be close to reaching a final deal.
The rezoning plan would turn vacant lots currently zoned for amusements into a residential area, and would allow some hotels, retail, and indoor amusements into the central amusement area of the historic entertainment hub. The plan, which has been in the works for nearly eight years, must now pass through the chaotic gates of Albany before it’s signed into law.
It remains unclear exactly how much land the city will claim. But Domenic Recchia, Coney Island’s representative on the City Council, said that the amusement parkland will have between 9.5 and 10 acres. He added that developers will most likely build two high-rise hotels, though the legislation allows for up to four. Mayor Bloomberg said after the vote that the city is hoping to develop an amusement district that totals 27 acres. It would stretch between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk.
The plan’s three main proponents on the City Council—Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Land Use Committee Chair Melinda Katz, and Mr. Recchia—emphasized throughout the afternoon that the legislation would revive the world’s former playground into a year-round destination.