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Sitt seeks more Coney land

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A reclusive fast-food mogul who once dreamed of saving Coney Island with his own massive amusement park is close to selling his long-dormant land to the current self-styled savior of the “People’s Playground” and, in doing so, make it harder — and more expensive — for the city to realize its own vision for revitalizing the area.

Joe Sitt, owner of Thor Equities, is negotiating to buy the three-acre site of the former Thunderbolt roller coaster from Horace Bullard, the Kansas Fried Chicken mogul whose own theme park scheme for Steeplechase Park was blocked by then-Mayor Giuliani in 1994.

Bullard, who’s owned the land bounded by the Boardwalk, Surf Avenue, Keyspan Park and West 15th Street since 1985, said Sitt’s recent offer of $91 million was far more than the Bloomberg Administra­tion’s bid.

“I don’t want to even mention the [city’s] number,” Bullard told The Brooklyn Paper. “It was not a realistic number.”

Bullard said that after years of allowing the land to sit idle, he’s jettisoning it because “I’ve been looking around at the economy” and “it’s time for me to get on with my life.”

Thor’s interest in adding to its 10–1/2-acre empire was first reported on Monday in the New York Post, and a spokesman for the company told The Brooklyn Paper that the two sides have been hammering out a deal.

Sitt’s ability to succeed as an amusement impresario in Coney Island has been under question since he started his $100-million land-buying spree five years ago.

Last summer — the so-called “Summer of Hope” — fizzled out when the temporary rides and games that Sitt brought in ended up packing up early.

This fall, Astroland closed after Sitt did not offer the space-age park’s operator a lease extension. Just before Christmas, word leaked that Sitt is doubling and tripling the rent for many Boardwalk businesses.

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Reader Feedback

Perry from Coney Island says:
Coney ISLAND IS filled with corruption from all sides. Only difference between BULL SITT and the City of New York and the rest of the commercial interests of Coney is that BULL SITT has the land and the wherewithall to hold the rest of the world HOSTAGE until he gets the PRICE he wants. I have lived in Coney all my life, I have worked there and still to this day go there just about every day. And let me tell you something. Nothing has changed, nothing will change and NOTHING has to change. Corruption and GREED will continue to RULE CONEY ISLAND......
Jan. 6, 2009, 6:27 am
lefty says:
I'm starting to get confused about the issue. At first I felt like maybe Bloomberg was in on it. I dont know. Then someone on coneyisland.com posted how much money he's donated and how rich he is then I start to wonder how Bloomberg really ties into it all.

I really would love some analysis on how all factions in this situation stand to gain.
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:54 am
lefty says:
I'm also confused about what really motivated Bloomberg to ignore public opinion and create the opportunity for a 3rd term for himself. Is it pride? Does he really think he's the only one who can help? Do things like Coney weigh on him and he wants the chance to fight these things out or not resign with them going the direction they are? Does Bloomberg want to make things like this land grab happen?
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:55 am
al pankin from downtown says:
good for joe sitt and very,very good for mr. bullard. he deserves every dime. no one else stepped up to the plate. the city let coney island run into the ground for the past fifty years.
Jan. 6, 2009, 6:40 pm
coney zomby from coney island says:
Lefty, don't believe it. The Post story is Bull Sitt. Consider the source---Joe Sitt's spinmeister Stefan Friedman. When has he ever made truthful statements to the press? Joey and Horace are holding out for mo' money from Mikey
Jan. 6, 2009, 9:21 pm

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