The Coney Island Amphitheater sure doesn’t appear ready to host thousands of concert-goers in nine days for its first show with Ziggy Marley.
In addition to construction work that needs to be completed at the site, the amphitheater has still not received a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Buildings (DOB), which is required for the property to operate as an entertainment venue.
A DOB spokesperson confirmed the property, located at West 21st Street and the Boardwalk, does have a certificate of occupancy issued in 1970 for the building to be used as a factory and storage facility. However, a certificate for the new construction, which involves a rehabilitation of the landmarked Childs Restaurant, has not been issued. There are 60 outstanding requirements — including flood zone compliance, a fire alarm test, concrete field testing, a landmarks signoff, energy compliance inspections, and a final site survey — that must be approved before the certificate of occupancy is given, according to property records.
iStar Financial, the developer behind the project, as well as Live Nation, the company in charge of booking and promoting the amphitheater’s events, did not respond to repeated inquiries about whether they would be ready to host the first concert on June 25 or any of the following shows.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation, which is overseeing the city’s $60 million investment in the project, also did not respond to emails asking about the progress of construction.
We did receive one phone call from a spokesperson for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the company in charge of branding for the amphitheater, who said she would forward our inquiries about construction to the “appropriate people.” We have not heard back.
Organizers have said the amphitheater’s official opening will take place on Fourth of July weekend, barely two weeks away. However, there are two shows — Ziggy Marley and the Impractical Jokers — scheduled at the venue before opening day. Tickets for those events, as well as all of the other summer shows like the Beach Boys, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Don Henley, are being sold on Ticketmaster.
Here’s a screenshot of the number of seats (in grey) that have been sold on Ticketmaster for the Ziggy Marley show.
Aside from lacking a certificate of occupancy, the amphitheater doesn’t look like a venue expecting to host a big show in less than two weeks. Green construction walls still surround the perimeter of the site, there’s landscaping work that needs to be completed in the lawn area at the back of the property, only some of the seats appear to be installed. There are also exposed wires on some of the beams supporting the fabric covering the 5-000 seat open-air performance space, and it looks like concrete work needs to be completed near the entrance on West 22nd Street.
The Child’s Restaurant, built in the 1920s, which is supposed to host a restaurant and entertainment space and use 50-foot barn-like doors to open the stage to the outdoor seating area, still looks like a husk of a building.
An inspector is scheduled to visit the site today at 4:30pm, city records show. However, a DOB spokesperson did not issue a response to our inquiry about whether a certificate of occupancy would be issued if the building passes today’s inspection.
The Coney Island Amphitheater is the brainchild of former Borough President Marty Markowitz, who reached a deal with city officials in 2013 to back the proposal. The project included a restoration of the Childs Restaurant that preserves the building’s iconic Greek, Spanish and maritime influenced architecture while transforming the space into a modern, state-of-the-art entertainment venue. Although the local community board voted against the project — fearing it would pollute the area with increased traffic and noise — the City Council gave the green light to a 10-year special permit allowing the project to move forward.
iStar Financial filed plans for constructing the amphitheater in 2014, which were approved last year, property records show. In February, organizers and city officials sent out a press release, full of excited quotes from local representatives and company executives, announcing the venue would be open by July.