With a deal to sell some of his prime Coney Island boardwalk real estate to the city stalled, developer Joe Sitt is moving to snatch up more land in an attempt to build a controversial entertainment-amusement-hotel complex. Kansas Fried Chicken king Horace Bullard tells the Post that he's "leaning toward" selling the former Thunderbolt roller coaster site to Sitt for $91 million. Those three acres would tighten Sitt's grip on most of the land stretching from Keyspan Park to the Cyclone.
Negotiations broke down last year when the city balked at paying the $200 million to $250 million demanded by Sitt for the 10.5 acres of beachfront property. At the end of last summer, the developer declined to renew the lease for Astroland, and the rides at that famous amusement area are finally being trucked out this morning, according to the Coney Island message board. On Christmas Eve Sitt outraged the community by hanging "For Lease" signs on many boardwalk retailers, including beloved dive bar Ruby's.
There's now speculation that Sitt's intention may be to "mothball" the boardwalk until the city meets his demands. But Sitt spokesman Stefan Friedman tells the Post that the Thunderbolt site is being acquired as part of "a back-up plan" to build the Vegas-style entertainment complex if negotiations with the city completely fall apart.