Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

New York City invests in Coney Island

Wonder Wheel Park preserved

New York City has purchased an acre of Wonder Wheel Park from Ward Realty Corp for $11 million as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to preserve the historic character of Coney Island.

Last year Thor Equities was said to have a contract to buy the land for the same price, but that deal fell through about three months ago. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the current tenant, has a lease on the property through until 2020.

The deal is the first of what New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) expects to be a series of land acquisitions in the coming months as the City proceeds with its vision to create a “21st Century entertainment destination” and protect Coney Island’s amusement legacy in perpetuity.

The site acquired is located within the nine-acre area the City has designated to be mapped as parkland. Under a comprehensive rezoning plan, the land will establish a base for developing new year-round indoor and outdoor amusement uses. The purchase will bring the total amount of City-owned property within the footprint to about four acres.

“The acquisition of the Ward property provides further evidence of the City’s commitment to preserve Coney Island’s unique heritage and protect the amusements in perpetuity,” says Seth W Pinsky, NYCEDC president. “This important deal brings us one step closer to our twin goals of maintaining what is best about Coney Island, while simultaneously building a vibrant, modern mixed-use community.”

“We are delighted with the news,” affirms Dennis D Vourderis, vice-president of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. “We have not sold the Wonder Wheel, nor the rides on the land around it. The Vourderis family will continue to operate Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park and with the City as a new landlord on a portion of our operations. The vision of the Ward family for that piece of property to entertain kids forever is secure. This is a welcome change that will serve the people of New York well.”

In pursuit of its long-term goal, NYCEDC continues to engage in active negotiations with the remaining landowners to consolidate the rest of the nine-acre site. Upon completion of the public approval process, there will be a total of 12-acres of parkland to be devoted to amusement uses in Coney Island, including the city-owned Cyclone roller coaster and Steeplechase Park, which are already mapped as parkland. The City intends to re-develop the neighbourhood surrounding the amusements by bringing much needed infrastructure improvements, creating affordable housing and fostering economic activity that will create jobs and opportunities for local residents. The project will provide over 20,000 construction jobs and thousands of permanent jobs.

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