Sunday, October 7, 2012

More Fun Proposed for Coney Island Boardwalk

Next year Coney Island will boast even more amusements and attractions, if Mayor Bloomberg has anything to say about it. The city is seeking a developer and operator to breathe new life into a vacant lot that sits between the Scream Zone and what next summer will be Steeplechase Plaza --a 2.5-acre plot which will be the home of the restored B&B Carousel, Coney Island's last historic carousel. The winning developer will be announced later this year.

The city is seeking proposals for the one-acre lot located at 1502 Surf Avenue, adjacent to the famed Coney Island Boardwalk, and next door to a privately owned site where the famed Thunderbolt roller coaster once stood. The city wants to lease the site for a suggested 10-year term as is.

The selected respondent will be responsible for all costs and expenses involved in building and operating the site, according to the request for proposals, which was issued last month. Responses are due October 23rd.

"The activation of the site will further expand the amusement core, and build on the ongoing revitalization taking place in Coney Island," said Seth Pinsky, president of the city's Economic Development Corporation.

The proposals request is the latest effort by the city to transform Coney Island into a thriving amusement destination in the city. That effort started in 2009, when the city finally acquired 6.9 acres of land in the area from a developer for roughly $96 million, after years of intermittent negotiations.

Scream Zone, which opened in 2011 with four rides for thrill seekers, expanded its operation this year with go-karts and the Boardwalk Flight sky coaster ride. That amusement park along with Luna Park, the 19-ride, family-friendly park, was built and is operated by Central Amusement International, the New Jersey-based subsidiary of the 150-year-old Italian ride manufacturer Zamperla.

Central Amusement International, which leases the land that both parks sit on from the city, has invested close to $30 million in constructing Luna Park and Scream Zone. The city has invested more than $6.6 million to support both parks.

"The market for amusement operations in Coney Island is strong," the proposals request said. "The past three summers have witnessed great growth in visitors and the introduction of new amusement attractions." Currently, as many as 5 million visitors come to Coney Island every year.

Although the request said the selected respondent should plan to operate the amusement or attraction during the summer of 2013, the city would "consider proposals for later operation commencement dates based on the quality and investment proposed by respondents." The city expects to select a winner and a sign a lease on the land by the end of this year.