Zoning change needed for BJ’s

By Stephen Witt

While city records show a memorandum lease agreement to bring one of the nation's largest retailers to Bath Beach, the developer has yet to file an application with the city for a zoning change.

That after the New York Post reported last week that BJ's Wholesale Club has signed a 20-year lease to anchor a $100 million shopping center with developer Joe Sitt and his company Thor Equities.

The site for the development is 1752 Shore Parkway, a long-vacant former bus depot south of the Belt Parkway next to the Nellie Bly Amusement Park and Dreier-Offerman Park.

Sitt, who lives in Bensonhurst, bought the 2.4 acre property in 2005 for $10 million.

“We're proud to be cleaning up what has long been a blighted area of Brooklyn's waterfront,” said Thor spokesperson Stefan Friedman.

“We look forward to working closely with the city to not only bring a significant retailer, but more than 100,000 square feet of public space-including a public esplanade-to the people of Bensonhurst,” he added.

BJ's Warehouse spokesperson Sharyn Frankel refused comment on the project.

There are currently two BJ's Warehouses in the city – one in East New York off the Belt Parkway and another in Queens.

BJ's has 177 stores nationwide in 16 states, and specializes in providing shoppers who pay an annual membership fee with brand-name merchandise at cheaper prices than offered in supermarkets and other stores.

In order for the project to proceed, Sitt still needs to go through the city's uniform land use review procedure (ULURP) for a zoning change and esplanade approval.

A spokesperson for the city's Planning Department said a Thor representative came into the city planning office a couple of months ago about a potential development at the Shore Parkway site, but has yet to file an application.

The moment an application is filed it will be made public, said the spokesperson.

Sitt also owns about 11 acres in the amusement district of Coney Island as well as the former Revere Sugar Factory site in Red Hook.

Sitt is currently in negotiations with the city over his planned developments for those sites.

In Coney Island, the city wants to de-map Sitt's property and turn it into parkland in order to keep it zoned strictly for outdoor amusements.

Sitt wants to develop a $1.5 billion entertainment complex that includes indoor and outdoor amusements as well as a hotel.

The city and Sitt have been in talks to negotiate a settlement concerning Coney Island, according to city officials.

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