John Catsimatidis wants to add three more rental towers in Coney Island

Developer may invest in Florida if Brooklyn plans don’t pan out

John Catsimatidis (Getty)
John Catsimatidis (Getty)

Billionaire developer John Catsimatidis wants to expand his nearly finished Ocean Drive rental complex in Coney Island by adding three larger towers — and if the city doesn’t approve those plans, he may take the investment of about $1 billion to Florida.

“You’ve got to get the best for your investment,” Catsimatidis told the New York Post. “Why spend in New York when you can build in Florida.”

The Gristedes owner has been developing a 22-story, 450-unit twin-tower rental apartment complex at 3514 Surf Avenue.

About half of the first tower’s units have been rented and units in the second building will go on the market in March. Now, Catsimatidis wants to move on and add three larger towers on the complex’s eastern side, according to the publication.

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Ralph Zirinsky, Catsimatidis’ development manager, said the towers would have to be approved as part of the city’s public land-use review process. The firm wants to build even bigger than the first two towers; it would seek a floor-area ratio enlargement to an 8 or 10, compared to a 5 on the first phase of the development, “given the complexities and costs of building on the ocean.” No formal proposal has been filed with the city, though.

Getting approval for the larger towers could be challenging given the anti-development sentiment that has killed several proposals, including the expansion of Lenox Terrace in Harlem and the Industry City rezoning in Brooklyn. Mayor Bill de Blasio also recently withdrew support for a proposed rental complex near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Crown Heights.

City Council member Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island, said had he been on the council at the time Ocean Drive was approved, he wouldn’t have supported the size of the existing complex because it doesn’t include any affordable housing. Catsimatidis’ Ocean Drive apartments are all market-rate rentals, asking upwards of $1,800/month, and the three additional towers would be priced similarly. [NYP] — Akiko Matsuda