Written by Christy Hinko: email@example.com Friday, 20 April 2012 00:00
Vision Long Island has named Bartone Properties and BWC Realty Partners the 2012 Smart Growth “Revitalizing Communities” award recipients for the redevelopment plan for Farmingdale.
One aspect of the expansive project, to become Bartone Plaza, involves redeveloping the property around the village’s train station where a warehouse now sits. A mixed-use building with ground level retail space and with residential units above is planned.
Bartone Plaza will include 115 residential apartment units and 17,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level, two courtyards tucked within its design and an underground parking facility, serving 172 vehicles.
In addition to Bartone Plaza, on the property just east of the existing warehouse site, an 85-room Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel will be constructed. The hotel will be an extended-stay facility, also catering to overnight guests.
According to Bartone Properties, LLC, the project will create 118 construction jobs, and 98 permanent jobs, generate approximately three quarters of a million dollars per year in sales tax generation, and significantly broaden the property tax base.
The Village of Farmingdale Board of Trustees will hold another public hearing on Bartone Plaza at the Monday, May 7 regular board meeting at 8 p.m. at Village Hall, 361 Main Street, in the conference room. Copies of the past minutes and future agendas can be found on the village website.
The Farmingdale Observer discussed the award-winning plan with developer Anthony Bartone:
Q. What has been the biggest challenge in this redevelopment project?
A. Time and the current state of the economy. Financing today is difficult, at best, to achieve.
Q. Why are you doing this in Farmingdale?
A. I am third-generation Farmingdale and know well what the village has to offer. Farmingdale has all of the requisite ingredients to be a destination once again. We have our Main Street, Farmingdale State College, Republic Airport, a train station that gets you to Manhattan in less than an hour, Bethpage golf course, which is the home of many pro-tour events and convenient access to all main roadways. I think the better question is why wouldn’t we do this in Farmingdale.
Q. Why does Farmingdale need this?
A. The train station is disconnected from Main Street. The first thing you see when you arrive in Farmingdale is a blighted old warehouse building. This development will revitalize the entire area around the train [station] making a well-lit vibrant destination. Couple that with job creation, along with broadening of the tax base and this type of smart growth is the spark that will breathe new life back into the community.
Q. What is your history with the Farmingdale community?
A. I am a third generation Farmingdale [resident] having graduated from Farmingdale High School. In 2005-06 I completed a development in the village called Lenox Hill Estates, and this was completed as a joint venture with my father, Art Bartone, who is second-generation Farmingdale and also a Farmingdale High School graduate.
Q. Why does Long Island need mixed-use development?
A. The old sprawl-style development concept is becoming outdated on Long Island, giving way to smart growth via mixed-use redevelopment of underutilized properties.
Q. Not including the Hilton hotel project on the adjacent property, how long has this warehouse redevelopment project been under way?
A. In 2007, and the hotel concept came in 2009.
Q. How long have you owned the properties?
A. We [Bartone Properties, LLC] took over the site in 2007.
Q. Has getting the village codes amended been a challenge? Why do you think it was done for these properties? Why now?
A. The real challenge was the time. The village was able to secure a BOA grant to fund the study and zoning law changes, which saved the village taxpayers from having to pay for everything, but it added quite a bit of time to the process. The village’s code was outdated and lacked continuity. The master plan and zone changes were imperative to spark growth and revitalization in the village.
Q. Are you confident in the outcome and the benefits of the final project? What if it fails?
A. We are supremely confident! There have been many eyes on this project from our group, to urban planners, to economists, to reps from Hilton, and the list goes on and on. All studies have been resoundingly positive.
Q. What do you say to those concerned that mixed-use in this neighborhood doesn’t work?
A. Nothing could be further from the truth; mixed-use is a downtown’s savior. Compact retail spaces that are economically viable for merchants coupled with residents living directly above who can walk from retail use to retail use promote vibrancy in a downtown.
Q. Why the promenade to Main Street?
A. We need to reconnect our train station to Main Street, to facilitate [walkways that are 15-feet wide] running down South Front Street and a promenade [that is 5-feet wide] with an overhang where people can walk the length of the property without being exposed to the elements.