Long-stalled, 5,000-seat Coney Island ampitheater project moves forward

iStar converting the former Childs Restaurant site into massive arts venue
February 15, 2016 05:32PM

The long-delayed conversion of the former Childs Restaurant in Coney Island into a 5,000-seat amphitheater and restaurant is moving ahead.

Developer iStar bought the Childs building and the lot next to it in 2012, but revival efforts of the landmarked building and construction stalled until last summer.

Big white trusses are now visible on the site and will ultimately be covered with a thick tent-like fabric, Julia Butler, senior vice president of iStar, told the New York Times. The trusses will float over the sand-color seats of the amphitheater. The new stage will be constructed in what once was the Childs Restaurant, which opened in the 1920s and closed around 30 years later. The stucco building was landmarked in 2003.

IStar is developing the performance space and restaurant with the city, which committed $60 million toward the project and considers it an important piece to the revitalization of Coney Island. Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz championed the project.

The developer declined to say what its investment into the project is, only that it is “significant.”

Contention over the lot, where the amphitheater’s seats will go, remains. The New York City Community Garden Coalition filed a lawsuit saying the city illegally bulldozed the 70,000-square-foot lot that was once home to a community garden.  [NYT] — Dusica Sue Malesevic