The Real Deal New York

Thor Equities just put a huge Coney Island assemblage on the market

Joe Sitt once envisioned building a Las Vegas-style entertainment complex
By Rich Bockmann | September 10, 2018 04:30PM

Joe Sitt and the 21 properties between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk in Coney Island (Credit: Google Maps)

Joe Sitt is looking to sell the large Coney Island assemblage where he once envisioned building a Las Vegas-style temple to shopping and entertainment.

Sitt’s Thor Equities hired HFF to market a collection of 21 properties right outside the Coney Island subway station.

“They’ve been working on assembling these sites for about ten years,” said HFF’s Rob Rizzi, who is marketing the site with his colleagues Steven Rutman, Andrew Scandalios, Daniel Peek KC Patel and Nadine Moezinia.

“I think they feel like it’s the right time to hand off to the next group to really do a master plan that’s going to capture the next phase of this,” he added.

Rizzi declined to give the portfolio’s asking price.

The properties sit between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk, bound by West 10th and West 15th Streets in what is known as the neighborhood’s amusement district — where zoning limits uses to amusements, hotels, entertainment facilities and retail.

Residential development, which the neighborhood has seen more of lately, is not permitted. The sites allow for roughly 676,000 square feet of as-of-right development.

Representatives for Thor couldn’t be immediately reached.

Sitt was at one point the largest property owner in Coney Island. In 2005, he told New York Magazine that he wanted to develop his properties into a shopping, entertainment and hotel complex that would bring Sin City-style glitz and glam to the neighborhood.

“Imagine something like the Bellagio hotel right now — just stop and see it,” he said.

Sitt long battled over the properties with the Bloomberg administration, which in 2009 rezoned Coney Island, paving the way for hotel and residential developments. That same year, Sitt sold a large portfolio of property in the neighborhood to the NYC Economic Development Corporation for $95.6 million.

A few blocks from Thor’s properties, Taconic Investment Partners and the Prusik Group are planning to build a massive mixed-use complex with 1,000 apartments. Ruby Schron’s Cammeby’s International Group is developing Coney Island’s tallest tower at 532 Neptune Avenue, and John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group is a 425-unit mixed-use project at 3514 Surf Avenue.

HFF’s Rutman said the new developments in the neighborhood are changing Coney Island from a seasonal attraction.

Thor, meanwhile, is selling off other development sites. The company recently sold a property in Williamsburg to RedSky Capital for $32.25 million. And it hired Hodges Ward Elliott to market its 10.5-acre development site in Red Hook at 280 Richards Street, which has an asking price of $110 million.

The company has also lost control over some buildings because of unpaid debt. In February, The Real Deal reported that Thor lost most of its interest in 218 West 57th Street, 685 Fifth Avenue and 530 Fifth Avenue. As a part of a move to repay debt to co-owner GGP, Thor’s 50 percent stakes in each shrank to 0.1 percent, 2.97 percent and 9.77 percent, respectively.

Most recently, Thor gave up ownership of a mixed-use property at 1231 Third Avenue to its mezzanine lender, SL Green Realty.