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Stillwell Terminal Store

Last Store for Rent in Stillwell Terminal. November 14, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal, which was reconstructed from 2001 to 2005, is about to be fully leased. The last chance to rent the last vacant store in one of the world’s largest above-ground subway terminals is coming up on Friday. Proposals should be submitted to the MTA by 3pm on December 2nd. For a copy of the RFP, contact the MTA Real Estate Department.

The suggested use for the approximately 625 square foot space is retail or food. The suggested annual rent is $45,000 with a 3% – 5% annual increase over the term of the ten-year lease. That works out to be $72 per square foot, but the potential tenant may offer more or less. The tenant is responsible for building the entire interior, installing utilities and other improvements according to strict specifications set by the MTA.

Not permitted: “Video games and arcades are not allowed. Stores selling t-shirts, beach-related accessories or Asian-themed dry goods are not allowed. Any selling of ice cream, donuts, submarine sandwiches, or grocery-type items is not allowed. ATMs or typical newsstand- type items are not allowed. Store is required to be open year-round (not just in summer months).”

Arcade games are apparently banned by the MTA and the restricted items are already sold by current tenants.Stillwell Terminal shops are occupied by Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, Subway, Bank of America and a newsstand. Lola Star Boutique, Coney Island Beach Shop and Coney Island Gift Shop have the T-shirt and beach gear market covered. Gourmet Food, which sells imported chocolate, cookies and nuts, as well grocery items, opened this month.

The RFP also contains an interesting statistic: The annual average weekday station customer count –paid entry at station only, not exiting– is 12,240. Summer passenger count increases significantly. For Saturdays in June, July and August in 2009, average paid entry was 22,411.

Gourmet Shop

Newly Opened Gourmet Food Shop, Stillwell Terminal. November 14, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Surf Ave. Lot for Lease next to Stillwell Terminal

Surf Ave. Lot for Lease next to Stillwell Terminal. December 23, 2010. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Last week leases went out to two fast food restaurants for space in a two-story commercial building to be built on the long vacant lot next to Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal. Built to suit/subdivide, the new building will have 10,000 square feet on the first floor and 5,000 square feet on the second floor.

Although the broker could not disclose the names of the restaurants until the leases are signed, the Coney Island Rumor Mill has been saying for weeks that Popeye’s Chicken would reopen at this location. Popeye’s owner began looking at space on the north side of Surf after getting booted out of the Henderson Building by Thor Equities. Popeye’s had been at the Henderson location for 27 years.

ATZ obtained the plans for the 1223 Surf Avenue building from broker Joe Vitacco of Jacob Gold Realty. “We sent out leases for two spaces, both on the left side of the property. They will be fast food,” said Vitacco. But there’s still room for more. “The remaining space, which is about 4,500 square feet, could be a restaurant by itself or in conjunction with the 5,000 square foot second floor that will have a 4,500 square foot terrace overlooking Surf. There will be an elevator connecting the first and second floors. The second floor will be 22 feet above grade and will have a panoramic view of the ocean.” The plans for the second story show a terrace that is approximately 27 feet deep by 65 feet wide. Takers?

Plan for Surf Ave Building

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

When ATZ asked what’s the other fast food restaurant? Vitacco said, “You’ll be surprised.” If you’d like to hazard a guess, go right ahead and post a comment. Keep in mind that Stillwell Terminal already has Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins and Subway franchises. There’s a McDonald’s Cafe at Stillwell and Mermaid Avenues.

According to Vitacco, the price of the lease depends upon how much work the tenant requires of the landlord beyond a shell. “We are leaving that on a case by case decision,” he says. “The plans have been filed we need approval then permits then we will have an idea as when it will be ready.” The 1223 Surf Avenue property was previously owned by Horace Bullard, who also owns the nearby Shore Theater, which is for sale for $12 million. Vitacco represented Bullard in the sale of this property to Fox 18 Realty LLC and now has the exclusive to represent the owner in the leasing of the property.

Plan for Two Story Commercial Building

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

The lot 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 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.

UPDATE August 2, 2012

New Building Breaks Ground Next to Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal

Sky Rapids Ride

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

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Lighted Sign at Coney Island's Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

The E Is Fixed: Lighted Sign at Coney Island's Stillwell Terminal. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Yesterday we received a message that the “E” in CONEY had finally been fixed and was two-third’s lit! And the crooked “L” in ISLAND had been straightened out, too! Yay and hooray! We’re almost tempted to say the repair of the Stillwell Terminal’s signature sign after months of neglect presages the rebirth of Coney Island.

One thing for sure, somebody at the MTA must read blogs. Last week ATZ posted “Will MTA Ever Fix Burned out “E” in Coney Island Sign at Stillwell?” The light had been out for several months and complaints to the MTA that the darkened E ruined an iconic photo op at the showplace station went nowhere. Thanks to curbed for reblogging our plea that the light be fixed in time for the opening day of Coney’s comeback season.

This morning on the way to work photographer and Coney Island resident Bruce Handy took these historic first photos of the relit E. “The people waiting for the bus must have thought I was crazy taking photos at 5:30 in the morning. But you never know, later today the E could be fully lit. I wanted to capture the 2/3 look.” Actually he found “BIG E is 4/5 Lit.”

We’re looking forward to taking a picture perfect shot of the front of the station sometime soon. Burned out bulbs on building have yet to be replaced. Maybe tomorrow?

BIG E is 4/5 Lit. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

Iconic Photo Op: BIG E is 4/5 Lit. Photo © Bruce Handy/Pablo 57 via flickr

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