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New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in cooperation with the Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks), has selected a consultant team headed by EDAW Inc. and Rockwell Group for design services for the proposed Steeplechase Plaza in Coney Island. The new Coney Island Steeplechase Plaza is intended to be a pivotal component of the revitalized Coney Island entertainment and amusement district. The 2.2 acre site is adjacent to the Riegelmann Boardwalk and directly south of the Brooklyn Cyclones’ KeySpan Stadium. Steeplechase Plaza will feature a performance green and space for potential activities such as a park or a water feature, as well as concessions and pavilions.
“Moving forward with the design of Steeplechase Plaza represents another significant investment by the City in the bright future of Coney Island,” said NYCEDC President Robert C. Lieber. “This iconic Plaza will become a signature component of a revitalized Coney Island and an entertainment nexus of the Boardwalk which will draw visitors from the amusement area on the east side to existing and future development to the west. Together with planned improvements to the streetscape, public open spaces, existing facilities and landmarks, Steeplechase Plaza will catalyze new private development in Coney Island.”
“In the early 20th Century, George Tilyou’s Steeplechase Park was a must-see destination,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Now that Coney Island is on the verge of a 21st Century renaissance, Steeplechase Plaza will be a centerpiece of its revival. The new Plaza will offer Coney Island’s visitors an ideal setting for public gatherings, performances, amusements and year-round fun. We are pleased that a design team has been selected and look forward to working with EDC in creating this unique space.”
The new Steeplechase Plaza was a major feature of the Coney Island Strategic Plan announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) in 2005. The Plaza will be a new, one-of-a-kind civic and entertainment destination between Keyspan Stadium and the famous Coney Island Boardwalk. Uses may include a performance space, seating areas, and a water component, as well as other amusements. It will also house the restored B&B Carousell, the historic 50-horse carousel purchased by the City of New York in August 2005. NYCEDC and Parks are currently seeking to identify a restoration expert to return the carousel to its former grandeur.
Tim Delorm, EDAW Vice President/Principal said, “The EDAW/Rockwell Team looks forward to interpreting Coney Island’s distinctive DNA in creating an innovative entertainment destination that draws inspiration from the past and continues the regeneration of one of New York City’s great treasures.”
“Coney Island is one of those unique public spaces that exists in the past, present and future simultaneously,” said Rockwell Group Founder and CEO David Rockwell. “We are very excited about working with our partners, the surrounding communities and the City. Our goal is to transform Steeplechase Plaza into a public destination that supports a wide range of activity and attracts an amazing cross-section of the City and the world.”
In addition to EDAW Inc. and Rockwell Group, the Steeplechase Plaza design team includes MRA International, ARUP, DMJM Harris, Jason Bruges Studio, WET Design and Li/Saltzman Architects. Services to be provided to the City under the approximately $4 million contract include surveys, conditions and geotechnical analysis, conceptual and schematic design, as well as design development, preparation of contract documents, and development of a maintenance plan. The design team will work with NYCEDC, Parks Department, CIDC, the Brooklyn Cyclones, and the local community throughout the process. It is expected that the design process will take about 12 months to complete.
The EDAW/Rockwell team was selected through a competitive process due to its unique experience in working on major amusement and entertainment destinations in the U.S. as well as abroad. EDAW has been a leader in the fields of landscape architecture, urban design and public space planning for half a century. For this project, the firm will draw upon the expertise of both its London and New York offices. EDAW projects range from the Fulton Mall in Brooklyn, Tokyo Midtown Cruise Ship Terminal and the revitalized waterfront area of Blackpool, England, a popular seaside resort that has much in common with Coney Island.
Rockwell Group, an internationally acclaimed design and architecture firm, specializes in hospitality, cultural, retail, product, theatrical and film design. Current and past Rockwell Group projects include Imagination Playground in Lower Manhattan, the interior of JetBlue’s new terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, the Bronx Zoo Lakeside Center, and the World Trade Center Public Viewing Platform.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.