Friday, 20 May 2011 00:00
The current Glen Cove City administration recently announced the latest “new” revision of the Waterfront development plan. The plan, calling for over 800 residential units, was conceived and promoted by the current administration and its predecessor during a “bubble” real estate market. Of course we all remember those were the times that appeared to “guarantee” that the real estate market would increase in value forever. It seemed axiomatic that any investment in residential real estate could only increase the wealth of the investors, the buyers and by virtue of expanding tax receipts, the community invested in. This was seen as the best way to put the “gold” back into the “Gold Coast.”
Now, all readers that still believe an investment in residential real estate is the best way for a community to create wealth and prosperity; please raise your hand. If you raised your hand, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to property values.
The Glen Cove Waterfront is a unique geographic area in that large quantities of bulk products can move in and out of the area via waterway, providing both easy access and low cost transportation. This is a formula for successful business development and jobs for Glen Cove residents and those of adjoining communities.
The lesson that most of us have learned from the current protracted and deep economic recession is that our collective prosperity is a matter of jobs and the successful commercial and industrial businesses that can provide them. This simple and fundamental economic understanding, mostly forgotten during the previous two decades, is now once again resonating across the country. The new Democrat Governor, long associated with the New York party of “tax and spend,” has come to understand the new economic reality and is working hard to change the fiscal direction of the State. So why in Glen Cove are we still trying to replace 56 acres of prime industrial property on a navigable and accessible waterway with over 2 million square feet of mostly residential development?
It’s the same reason that a freight train cannot stop quickly or an ocean liner cannot easily change direction, they have too much momentum. The current Glen Cove administration has committed itself to a plan conceived in a different time under different economic circumstances and cannot bring itself to change its perspective even though the original justification of the project no longer makes any economic sense. Of course complicating the decision is that the developer has been counting on potentially extraordinary profits for some time now and is unwilling to jeopardize its economic interest. The Glen Cove Administration and the developer have both embraced each other in this poorly conceived, billion dollar development plan with irreversible and potentially catastrophic consequences for Glen Cove.
When nature encounters entities that will not conform to changing environmental requirements, it employs an effective remedy called “extinction.” Fortunately, the residents of Glen Cove have something similar called “elections.” If the current administration is unable to grasp the new economic circumstances, the residents will need to use the upcoming election to promote the “evolution” of a plan for the Waterfront that reflects economic realities. Otherwise, the new “Gold Coast” may consist mostly of “fool’s gold.”