Ocean Drive, (formerly Ocean Dreams) the latest ‘Miami-inspired’ double tower apartment complex in Coney Island at 3514 Surf Avenue, will have a D’Agostino supermarket on the ground floor. Plans are in place for the store to open by the Fall, developer and CEO of Red Apple Group, John Catsimatidis tells us.
“We are going to have a staff meeting in the next day or two, where we will decide to push the button, and once we do that it takes 60-90 days to open, if all goes well permits wise,” Catsimatidis told Bklyner. The grocery store, spanning 10,000- 12,000 square feet of the building’s 20,685 square feet of commercial space should employ 60-75 people and will include a drug store.
“It should have been open by now but we were delayed by the pandemic,” Catsimatidis said.
The building had planned to provide residents with a private trolley connecting the building to the Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue Subway station but that has been delayed due to the pandemic as well and is subject to city permits. The high-speed ferry that will connect Coney Island to lower Manhattan is scheduled to open in 2021 and Councilmember Mark Treyger supports a shuttle connecting the nearby ferry terminal to the Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue subway station. “Our people are always working with Councilmember Treyger for the betterment of Coney Island,” said Catsimatidis.
The building will celebrate an official grand opening in mid-July and the Ocean Dreams on-site leasing office recently reopened for both in-person and virtual tours.
“We will be giving out Nathan’s Franks at the grand opening, there is nothing like a Nathan’s Frank, I have to decide whether to have two or three of them whenever I go there,” said Catsimatidis.
Although units of the residential section of Ocean Drive began quietly opening to renters in February, the luxury housing complex has only rented 20-25 of its 425 available units. The leasing office closed temporarily due to the pandemic.
Apartments in the complex are pricey for the area, with studios going for $1,843/month and two-bedroom units starting at $3,410/month. Amenities for residents of the building include in-unit washer and dryers, valet parking, a swimming pool, gym, yoga studio, residential lounge, a landscaped oceanfront sundeck, a Movie theatre, a children’s playroom and outdoor BBQ stations.
Catsimatidis said he is considering moving into one of the building’s penthouse apartments.
The complex also has plans to fill its commercial space with a restaurant and while Catsimatidis says he doesn’t know what restaurant he will choose yet, he loves Italian food, noting that he is 28% Italian.
Catsimatidis said he is studying the economic viability of developing three more buildings in the area and spending up to $800 million on Coney Island real estate, depending on the political climate.
So far, local reactions to the development have been lukewarm at best. The Councilman of the area, Mark Treyger, has stated publicly at the local Community Board meeting that he would not have approved the scale of the building if he was on the Council earlier when plans of the building were being considered because of affordability issues.
“Any future residential and commercial developments in Coney Island should reflect the affordability of the community. According to 2018 data from the NYU Furman Center, the average median income of the neighborhood is $40,430. Local economic factors as well as hiring locally for any construction projects should be the starting point before considering any new development projects,” Treyger emailed.
Orlando Mendez, a life-long resident of the West End of Coney Island, said the building’s pricing contrasted with the public housing of the area.
“It is almost like Catsimatidis is thumbing his nose at the community and saying this is not for you,” Mendez said. The neighborhood’s senior citizens are not likely to move to apartments at the complex’s price points and the younger crowd the apartments will attract may be more transient and leave after a few years, according to Mendez.
Traffic is a concern for many in Coney Island and Mendez said that the 301 additional parking spaces in the complex will mean 301 additional cars that could be on Neptune and Surf Avenues, traffic arteries that are already congested during the peak season.
Craig Hammerman, a southern Brooklyn community activist and former district manager of Community Board 6 said there are opportunities for Catsimatidis to improve his relationship with the local community by making sure that the D’Agostino supermarket hires locally.
Red Apple Group, the development company behind the development has held local job fairs for area residents in the past during the construction phase and Catsimatidis expressed a desire to hire locally to the extent possible for the new supermarket.
UPDATED on 6/30/2020 to add comment from Councilmember Treyger and to clarify that Ocean Dreams is now known as Ocean Drive.