Interesting to note, Thor [the investment company that owns the park's land] plans to break ground next year on a $1.5 billion complex including high-rise hotels and New York's first new roller coaster since the wooden Cyclone was built 75 years ago.
According to what I've read, the owners of Astroland wanted more than just a one year lease...a fair request given the nature of the amusement park business, but according to the owners, Thor Equities did not respond. Of course there are two versions of the story, but I can see why Thor would want them out. They were by far the most high profile, and most profitable amusement operation on Coney, and one that hindered the "progress" of the company.
While the renderings and ideas for the amusement district show promise, building condos would spell the beginning of the end of 120 years of Coney Island's amusement district. Once they get hooked on the money coming from those condos, they will get greedy and want more, and the amusements will be slowly squeezed out. It's the nature of the beast...always needing fed more and more money. Amusement parks can be a good investment and a money maker, but not nearly as profitable and safe as a bunch of condos.
While many theme park fans don't appreciate the significance of Coney Island because of it's current state, the fact remains that the theme/amusement industry was born and developed in, and copied several times from Coney Island. Without it's past success, there may have been no industry, no Disney, no Universal, no Busch, etc..etc. It's decline is a rather sad story, and it's appreciation came way too late. Coney will be a sad place next summer.