Rebirth of legendary Childs Restaurant likely | Crain's New York Business
The City Council’s Committee on Land Use approved plans for an amphitheater, a public park and the restoration of a storied Coney Island restaurant along the boardwalk Wednesday morning. That step paves the way for the full council to green light the project on Thursday, during its last scheduled meeting of the year.
The proposal for the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center project is being advanced by both the city’s Economic Development Corp. and an iStar Financial subsidiary called Coney Island Holdings LLC. Under the plan, zoning laws would be altered and permits granted to allow for the construction of an outdoor amphitheater along the boardwalk near West 21st Street, that could accommodate 5,099 people. In addition, a public park would be built and the landmarked Childs Restaurant would be restored and reopened as an eatery and catering facility.
The proposal has the support of the local City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr., D-Brooklyn, which means the proposal is likely to sail through the full council tomorrow, since the legislative body typically votes in concert with the local lawmaker.
“The improvements proposed in this project will undoubtedly restore this iconic structure’s use to the community, provide multiple cultural and educational benefits, and greatly contribute to the area’s ongoing cultural and economic revitalization,” Mr. Recchia said in a statement.
The amphitheater would be used for the free Seaside Summer Concert Series that was started by out-going Borough President Marty Markowitz, who also supports the project, as well as for paid concert events. In the off-season and between performances, it would be available for the community’s use. During the concert season, a removable cloth canopy would cover the area.
The proposal is also viewed as something that could stimulate more residential development in the area.
The park and community center are partially inside the Special Coney Island District, created in 2009 to help spur development both in a designated amusement section called Coney East, and new residential development in two areas called Coney North and Coney West.
Developer iStar Financial is set to construct a portion of more than 2,500 units of housing slated for Coney West, although the firm is waiting for the city to complete infrastructure improvements to accommodate the new units.
Before that happens, the firm saw the amphitheater and Childs Restaurant restoration as a means to make that area more enticing, iStar’s Karl Frey told the City Council hearing on Tuesday. In turn, he noted that would make the company’s residential development more viable.
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