Written by Carisa Giardino Monday, 15 June 2009 16:53
Simon Properties is looking to build a hotel, with office space, restaurants and several retail uses at 900 Old Country Road, more commonly known as the former Avis property. The 21.86-acre parcel of land is located on the south side of Old Country Road, between Zeckendorf and Gate boulevards.
The Town of Hempstead’s Board of Appeals has granted Simon Property Group, Inc. a special exception to construct the hotel in an industrial district and exceed the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) on the entire site. The special exception was granted with conditions and is not a building permit.
If granted the permit, Simon Properties intends to demolish three existing vacant buildings with a combined gross floor area of 482,372 square feet and the existing 16,500 square foot Thomasville Furniture Gallery building.
Simon’s application before the Town’s Board of Appeals is only a first step in a long process. The applicant must also apply for site plan review before the Town’s Board of Appeals and after that seek approval from the Town of Hempstead’s board. Further, the Nassau County Department of Public Works will also provide input as to its “jurisdictional considerations.”
Hempstead Town’s Board of Appeals, as lead agency, adopted a negative declaration, citing the proposed actions will not have a significant adverse environmental impact.
A variance for off-street parking was also granted with conditions. The proposed site includes 1,221 surface parking spaces, including 46 American Disabilities Act (ADA) spaces, and 387 more spaces to be included in a proposed two-story parking deck. Because the Town’s parking requirements as per its building zone ordinance demands 1,942 parking spaces, a parking variance for 334 spaces has been proposed.
Because the site has frontage on Old Country Road, East Gate Boulevard and Zeckendorf Boulevard, Simon Properties is responsible for improvements to mitigate any potential traffic problems.
Specifically, the applicant has agreed to revise and “fine tune” traffic signal timing plans at the intersection of Old Country Road and Zeckendorf Boulevard; add a left-turn lane on the northbound approach, re-stripe the northbound approach as one left-turn pocket, one left/through lane and one right-turn lane and add a right turn signal arrow for the northbound right turn movement at the intersection of Old Country Road and East Gate Boulevard/Mitchell Avenue; construct an additional lane on the eastbound approach at the intersection of Old Country Road and Cherry Lane; and add one right turn lane on the eastbound approach of the intersection of Old Country Road and Zeckendorf Boulevard.
The applicant had to seek another special exception because the project’s FAR exceeds requirement by 0.40. Although the FAR of the buildings on the property will decrease from 0.524 (existing) to 0.427, the FAR, including the proposed two-level, 123,436 square foot parking deck, would be 0.557.
If approved, construction could take two years. The total project is estimated to cost $81.7 million. Further, based on an economic impact study, the total income generated by construction is estimated at $165.2 million. The project could create 1,327 full-time jobs during the two-year construction period. Once completed, the development would employ approximately 1,494 full-time employees.
During construction, the proposed development is expected to generate approximately $41.3 million and $12.4 million in federal and state income taxes respectively and increased spending during construction is expected to generate $4.1 million in state and local sales tax revenues.
The project would generate an estimated $16.1 million in sales tax revenues; local and county governments as well as school and library districts could see approximately $4.3 million of that. The Uniondale School District would benefit from this project, receiving $42,557,253 annually in property taxes.
The property is situated within the service area of the Westbury Fire Department, with a fire station less than two miles from the site. The applicant assures all construction will meet building and fire codes.