Gargiulo’s Gets A Neighbor in Coney Island

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Expected mixed-income residents can soon enjoy some fresh prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted peppers right across the street or a sizzling Nathans hot dog just down the block in the heart of Coney Island.

That after LCOR development firm announced plans this week to build a 26-story housing development at 1515 Surf Avenue across the street from community staple Gargiulo’s Restaurant, and a block and a half away from both the famed boardwalk to the south and the Stillwell Subway Station to the east.

The proposal consists of 461 apartments, including 139 affordable units. LCOR also said the project will also include 11,000 square-feet of ground-floor retail space.

“At LCOR, we pride ourselves on identifying sites for new development that generate opportunities for both our residents and the surrounding neighborhoods at large, and I am confident that our latest project in Coney Island fits this bill,” said David Sigman, LCOR Executive Vice President and Principal. “With several new developments underway on Surf Avenue along with the zoning changes and public infrastructure investment, we are bullish about how much demand there will be to live here and are excited to be a part of this next chapter for Coney Island.” 

Council Member Mark Treyger
Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

City Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend, Sea Gate) and Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Dyker Heights, Gravesend) welcomed the development with some concerns, which is largely made possible through the  2009 rezoning that goes back to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“The 2009 rezoning has created a development boom in Coney Island, and I support any project that uplifts the community with economically and environmentally stable and sustainable construction,” said Frontus. “Revitalizing Coney Island means developments that respect the character of the community and provide affordable housing and amenities that support workers and families.” 

The developers have said that Gargiulo’s won’t “be affected by the project and will remain open and fully operational during construction.” The Russo family that owns the restaurant closed the land deal for the lot in 2019. 

Treyger spoke highly of the Russo family’s contributions and major support to the Coney Island neighborhood. 

“I know Nino Russo, one of the owners, and for example, just recently during the pandemic, they had a major Thanksgiving luncheon that my office co-sponsored. And he also went out of his way to use the kitchen to help prepare literally over a thousand meals for families,” said Treyger.

He also referenced that they were instrumental in leasing a property on Mermaid Avenue when Chase Bank was set to abandon the community after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. Treyger said the Russo family has deep connections and have been a fixture in Coney Island.  

A rendering of the proposed project from the developer.

However, the applicant, he said, LCOR has never contacted his office or reached out to the community board to provide more information about the building proposal. Treyger said he strongly encourages LCOR to do so.

“I’ve already expressed more than once my concerns for the 2009 rezoning, and quite frankly, how it didn’t go far enough in terms of affordability, more investments in better mass transit, and infrastructure further into Coney Island,” said Treyger. 

He said there’s a possibility that because of this rezoning the building may be ‘as of right.’

Earlier this month, the Department of Buildings (DOB) received applications for a proposed 26-story new building project and a 16-story new building project at 1515 Surf Avenue, said DOB spokesperson Andrew Rudansky without confirming whether the proposed development will be approved, or whether DOB will require any zoning changes, until more documentation is received.

Rudansky said both applications for the address are currently incomplete and missing a number of required items. As of today, said DOB, they have not received any zoning documents for the projects, and no DOB plan examinations have been scheduled by the applicant.