CONEY ISLAND — A combination of luxury and affordable housing is in the offing for Coney Island, which recently marked 10 years since the rezoning that opened the door for development while also protecting the neighborhood’s storied amusement district.
The impending developments were discussed, among other things, during the Brooklyn Real Estate Board’s meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at the Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball Gallery, 1904 Surf Avenue, where Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island, was the guest speaker.
Joanne Valerio, president of the Brooklyn Real Estate Board, introduced Silversmith, who talked about Coney Island’s revitalization and offered a brief history of the Alliance for Coney Island and the work it does on behalf of the community.
The alliance was formed in 2012 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and played an integral role in Coney Recovers, a collection of local organizations which helped the community recover from the destruction caused by the storm.
“This year is the 10-year anniversary of the rezoning of Coney Island which insured that there would be an amusement park for the future and started the revitalization of the amusement district,” said Silversmith.
She explained that the alliance has helped in Coney Island’s rebirth and has grown along with it. She offered an update about recent developments in Coney Island, including housing, transit improvements that have already taken place or will be taking place, and some branding initiatives that will help attract visitors to the area and increase the visibility of Coney Island.
Silversmith focused on private housing and affordable housing that’s currently in development. Among these is Ocean Dreams, a project being developed under the auspices of John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group which Silversmith said was, “By far the more luxury end of the private housing that’s being developed.
“The other three are areas that are much closer to the amusement district,” she added, noting, “One is on Sea Breeze Avenue and the other two are on Mermaid Avenue.”
In addition, Silversmith explained that two affordable housing projects are n the works. One is right up the block from the Ford Amphitheater and the second is directly across the street from MCU Park.
Silversmith also spoke about Coney Island transit initiatives including the F-train express. Thirty years ago, the F ran express to Coney Island until a technical malfunction occurred and service was never restored. “We’ve been advocating for this since 2017 and it is limited but a pilot was announced and actually launched in September,” she explained. “So what that means is that to get to Downtown Brooklyn, it takes just 30 minutes.”
She further explained the ways the Alliance was working to improve and bring awareness to all that Coney Island has to offer. “We’re trying to create one look,” Silversmith told her listeners, “and our goal is to simplify things and try as much as we can to make it an easy experience for visitors to come to Coney Island and to support the local businesses on Mermaid Avenue.”
Attending the meeting were community leaders such as Bob Howe, president of the Merchants of Third Avenue in Bay Ridge and Brian Chin, vice president and branch manager of Northfield Bank.
Chin called the meeting fun and exciting. Besides Silversmith’s update, he said, “There were some great networking opportunities for real-estate professionals and other related business fields.”
Valerio felt the meeting was a huge success. “Ms. Silversmith spoke about the progress that has been made to Coney Island within the last five years when I first heard her speak about the amphitheater being built as well as restaurant Kitchen 21 and housing and the New York Aquarium beautification.”
Valerio continued, “Fast forward five years and it’s all done and the public benefits from the new revitalization, including ferry service from Coney Island to Manhattan, transforming the old movie theatre across from Nathan’s Famous to a beauty spa…more housing and commercial space…and so much more,” added Valerio.
The Brooklyn Real Estate Board is a networking organization that has been educating the community about real estate and other related matters since 1926.