Posts Tagged ‘New Construction’

Sleep Inn Hotel Stillwell Avenue

Sleep Inn Hotel nearing completion on Stillwell Ave and Avenue Z. Photo © Diana Baggott

A Sleep Inn Hotel, the Coney Island area’s first new hotel in many decades, is nearing completion at Stillwell Avenue and Avenue Z, just north of Coney Island Creek. Mahesh Ratjani, one of the partners in the project, tells ATZ they hope to open in three months. Under construction since the last quarter of 2013 and originally projected to open by the beginning of 2015, the hotel awaits a certificate of occupancy. According to DOB records, the 12,989 square foot, four-story hotel occupies a 13,000 square foot lot. Sleep Inn is a member of the Choice Hotels Group.

As we noted in a post that was the first to report the new construction in December 2013, there are currently no hotels in the Coney Island area and it’s been many decades since a new one opened. The long-shuttered, 110-year-old Terminal Hotel across from Stillwell Terminal was destroyed by fire last year. The grand Half Moon Hotel, built on the Boardwalk in 1927, was later turned into a geriatric center before being demolished in 1996.

Sleepi-Inn Hotel

The City’s rezoning of Coney Island included the upzoning of three Thor Equities-owned properties on the south side of Surf Avenue between Stillwell and Jones Walk for hotels up to 30 stories. In public hearings, we argued against high rises — including hotels — on the south side of Surf, saying it would destroy instead of enhance Coney Island’s economic potential as an amusement and tourism destination. As it turns out, a hotel has yet to be built on Surf Avenue and we can only hope it never will be. Instead, the Coney Island area’s first new hotel in decades is located in a much more suitable location north of the amusement area with easy access to the Belt Parkway.

Ratjani and his partners own 15 hotels in New York and New Jersey, including the Comfort Inn off the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. The vacant lot at 2590 Stillwell Avenue was purchased for $1.9 million in 2007, according to Property Shark. The property is conveniently located off the Cropsey Ave/Coney Island exit of the Belt Parkway. The area is technically on the border of Gravesend and Bath Beach, though frequently identified as part of Coney Island. The closest subway stop is Bay 50th, one stop from Coney’s Stillwell Terminal, on the D line.

UPDATE October 25, 2015

Our first report of the new construction, in December 2013, and this one posted last spring, have been appearing in our Top Ten Posts over the past week or so. Sleep Inn Coney Island, as the new hotel is called, finally opened 10 days ago. Rates start at $119 per night and include free breakfast, wi-fi, and other amenities.

Sleep Inn Hotel

Sleep Inn Hotel nearing completion on Stillwell Ave and Avenue Z. Photo © Diana Baggott

Related posts on ATZ…

February 13, 2015: Coney Island 2015: IHOP Franchisee Signs Lease for 5,400-Square-Foot Surf Ave Store

January 21, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Wahlburgers Signage Goes Up at Thor’s Retail Building

January 29, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Subway Cafe, Sushi Lounge, IHOP, Checkers, Johnny Rockets

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

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Steeplechase Plaza

B&B Carousell Pavilion Under Construction in Steeplechase Plaza, Coney Island. July 30, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When the B&B Carousell reopens in Coney Island next season, the restored 1919 ride will spin in a glass pavilion next to the Parachute Jump. The progress of construction on the pavilion and its new home Steeplechase Plaza can be seen in the above photo. Large-scale neon lettering spelling B&B CAROUSELL will encircle the top of the completed pavilion. Coney Island’s last hand-carved carousel was saved from auction in 2005 when the City purchased it for $1.8 million from the McCullough family who operated it on the north side of Surf Avenue since the 1970s.

The Parachute Jump, the sole survivor of Steeplechase Park, is also a focal point of Steeplechase Plaza. The red, yellow and blue sheet metal panels and medallions at the base of the Jump are getting a redo as you can see in the photo below.

Construction at the Base of the Parachute Jump

Construction at the Base of the Parachute Jump. July 30, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

While fans of the Jump continue to hope that the landmark ride will someday be restored to operation, we don’t see that happening due to liability concerns and high costs. In an article that we wrote for Preservation Magazine in 2002, independent ride engineer and certified safety inspector Ed Pribonic expressed concerns about stress on the structure and the viability of reusing original components. “As a visual icon, it’s probably fine,” he said. “When you’re talking about turning it into an operating amusement ride that carries passengers and is subject to thousands of dynamic load cycles a day, then it becomes a different engineering problem.”

Besides, Coney Island is getting a 2.2 acre public plaza on the old Steeplechase site, not a new Steeplechase Park. According to the NYCEDC’s press release issued at the time of last November’s groundbreaking, the plaza will be the western gateway to the revitalized Coney Island and will be large enough to host a variety of events. For the first time, visitors will be able to walk directly underneath the Parachute Jump and gaze up at the latticework structure from the inside. The landmark will also get a new lighting scheme to “bring the bling to Coney Island,” in the words of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Parachute Jump Gateway

Artist Rendering of Parachute Jump Gateway. NYC Economic Development Corporation


Related posts on ATZ…

August 2, 2012: New Building Breaks Ground Next to Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal

May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

February 2, 2012: Thor’s Coney Island: Generic New Building at Surf & Stillwell

December 4, 2011: Brass Ring Dept: Coney Island “Carousell” RFP Up for Grabs

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Lot at 1223 Surf Avenue next to Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The second new commercial building to be constructed in Coney Island since the rezoning broke ground on the north side of Surf Avenue next door to Stillwell Terminal. “This is a spectacular location for a restaurant or nightclub, broker Joe Vitacco tells ATZ. “We are looking for quality tenants that will add to the growth of Coney Island.” The new building will be across the street from Thor Equities’ new retail-only building on the southeast corner of Surf and Stillwell, on the site of the demolished Henderson Music Hall.

The lot at 1223 Surf Avenue was in the news in December 2010, when we reported that Popeye’s Chicken was offered a lease in the new building for which plans had been filed. Construction was delayed and Popeye’s ended up relocating earlier this year to the Popper Building on the south side of Surf. Says Vitacco, “Finally, after two years of submitting and resubmitting and resubmitting again to the MTA and the Buildings Department, ground was broken for a two story, 15,000 square foot building at 1223 Surf Avenue in Coney Island. The first floor will be 10,000 square feet and the second floor will be 5,000 sq feet with a 2,500 square foot terrace. The second floor will be 22 feet above Surf Avenue with a view of the Atlantic Ocean and Luna Park.”

Plan for Two Story Commercial Building

First Floor: Plan for Two Story Commercial Building 1223 Surf Avenue in Coney Island

The owner of 1223 Surf Avenue, Fox 18 Realty, LLC, purchased the lot from Horace Bullard for $1,344,000 in 2010. The property has been vacant since 2001, when the Giuliani administration repeatedly ticketed and finally got rid of the flea market that had operated on the lot since the 1980s. The headline in the Daily News read “CONEY SMALL BIZ BLITZ STORM OF TICKETS TIED TO DEBUT OF CYCLONES.”

Prior to the flea market, independent rides have come and gone from the lot for as far back as anyone can recall. In the late 1940s and 1950s, the Pinto Brothers, who also manufactured kiddie rides on 8th Street in Coney Island, operated a Whip here and a Crazy Ghost ride nearby. In the 1960s this location was home to McCullough’s Illions carousel, which was moved from Surf and 15th Street, until it was dismantled in 1968. A Sky Rapids water slide, a Jumbo coaster that resembled a Jumbo Jet, and go karts took turns operating there in the 1970s.

Once home to a variety of rides including Bumper cars and the B & B Carousell, the north side of Surf Avenue is now attracting bars, clubs and restaurants. Coney Island Bar & Grill, Tattoo Shot Lounge and the popular Grimaldi’s Pizzeria are the new face of the north side of Surf. At long last, the furniture stores named after amusement parks appear to be on their way out.

Sky Rapids Ride

Sky Rapids Ride at 1223 Surf Avenue, Coney Island January 1, 1979. Photo by Abe Feinstein via Coney Island History Project

Related posts on ATZ…

June 23, 2012: Opening Today: Coney Island Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

May 29, 2012: Photo Album: Coney Island Lights & Signs of the Times

February 2, 2012: Thor’s Coney Island: Generic New Building at Surf & Stillwell

October 17, 2011: Popeyes Chicken Returning to Coney Island’s Surf Avenue

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