Billionaire files plans for long-delayed ‘Ocean Dreams’ development in Coney

‘Dream’ defered: Old renderings of the project provide a glimpse of what it may look like.
Brooklyn Daily
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Ocean Dreams do come true!

Billionaire developer John Catsimatidis will soon break ground on his massive — and long-deferred — Coney Island mixed-use development dubbed “Ocean Dreams.” Cats’s Red Apple Group recently filed plans to build a 21-story tower on a Boardwalk-adjacent parcel that he bought last summer. The billionaire’s money men want him to make the building condos — the self-made tycoon still has not decided, but he said he is going to follow his heart rather than his wallet.

“We have not decided 100 percent what we’re going to do,” Catsimatidis said. “The views are to kill for — my people are pushing me to make those upper floors condos. But I want to build something that I’m proud of, not that’s built by accountants. I want it to be something people look at and say, ‘Wow, I want to live there.’ ”

Plans call for the tower to be roughly the size of Deno’s Wonder Wheel at 185 feet — the maximum-allowable height under current zoning. At the moment, builders aim for the Surf Avenue project between W. 35th and W. 36th streets to include retail space at the building’s base, a 254-car garage, and more than 300 apartments from the third floor up. The sleek, glass building will rise on Surf Avenue between W. 35 and W. 36th streets — a full 20 blocks from the Amusement District — and should shift the economy in the nabe’s West End, said one of the project’s architects.

“Hopefully this will spur other developments in the area and bring much-needed life, jobs, and economic vitality,” said David West of Hill West Architects.

Amenities will include food, pharmacies, and of course, a roof-top swimming pool — the bare necessities, Cats said.

“We want it to be functional,” said Catsimatidis. “We want a supermarket, a drug store, a restaurant, so between the three of them, people will have the basics of what they need. And a swimming pool, because what good is a building without a heated swimming pool?”

Cats will put in one of his own supermarkets — Gristedes, Red Apple, or former rival D’Agostino, to which he threw a financial lifeline last summer — though he is not sure which, he said.

Catsimatidis has amassed lots between W. 35th and W. 37th streets for his Ocean Dreams project, which he has been trying to build since 2005 and would include 415 apartments across three towers. The Manhattan developer’s latest addition was the block-sized former Federation Employment and Guidance Service building on Surf Avenue and W. 35th Street for $7.7 million in May, dashing locals’ hopes that the city would build a community center there.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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