Thor Equities released its vision for a $10 million remake of a string of small buildings it owns along Surf Avenue yesterday, spelling doom for the Henderson building (aka the Surf Hotel) along with three other hundred-year-old buildings and confirming fears that the company just doesn’t get it. If you believe that Coney Island should be a unique experience, and not feel like a visit to a generic chain-store mall, it’s hard not to be disappointed, as The Observer was:
The renderings he released, touting his $10 million investment, seem almost designed to inspire distaste. Renderings, by their nature, are fabrications, and developers often put pictures of whatever people want to see (such as gigantic roller coasters that will never be built). Mr. Sitt has gone the other direction, choosing instead to highlight the potential for fast food, slapping a Burger King-like joint on the corner, next to a taco restaurant with signage highly suggestive of Taco Bell.
Thor’s goal is to have the new buildings up and running with concessions by Memorial Day next year, which is why they are starting immediately.
Coney Blog Kinetic Carnival offered this reaction:
Thor Equities wants to make good business use of his parcels even though it sacrifices a couple of Coney’s last remaining historiec structures. These Payless shoe boxes with poster billboards don’t even pay homage to the Henderson or the Grashorn building. Instead they are simple Trump-like eye sores. It seems that behind it, this is only something to present while covering the real reason: A need to quickly demolish these two historic two-story buildings so that they won’t be in the way for much larger development in the future.
Thor has a different spin about the new offerings, describing them as “family-friendly games, food, shopping and other activities that visitors to, and residents of, Coney are clamoring for.” One commenter on the Coney Island Boards posed this question, worthy of consideration: “Cant [Sitt] rehab the existing structure or is he just looking to looking for a nice reason to remove Henderson?” The answer is clearly yes, as Coney Island’s unofficial mayor, Dick Zigun, pointed out to The Daily News: “They are buildings of quality, with interesting architecture, with fascinating prior histories, and in a more enlightened environment would be rehabbed for 21st-century use rather than destroyed [so that] everything looks like it’s off the highway in New Jersey.”
Sitt Sees Fast Food in Place of Current Buildings [NYO]
Sitt Has No Plans for Coney Lots [NY Daily News]
Thor Equities Reveals Coney Plans [Brooklyn Eagle]
Thor Sacrifices Coney History for Money [Kinetic Carnival]
Photo from Scouting NY