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Plaza Apartment Building Includes Workforce Housing

Great Neck Plaza zoning required 19 workforce housing units

At the edge of Great Neck Plaza, a new, very tall apartment building is going up, a building that includes 19 out of the 94 rental units set aside for workforce housing. The Village of Great Neck Plaza granted only “minor variances” according to Mayor Jean Celender. The mayor said that this building at 245-265 Great Neck Road, developed by Plaza Landmark LLC and Lalezarian Developers Inc., follows the village code that provides for work force or “next generation” housing.

According to the developer, the “topping off” ceremony marks the symbolic placement of the last beam atop the building; the ceremony was held in March. The building is about 60 feet in height, which is within the maximum height limit for an apartment building in the Plaza’s C-2 zoning district. Only three other Plaza buildings are taller: the Bond Park Condominium at 12 Bond Street, the Wychwood Cooperative at 8 Barstow Road, and an office building at 111 Great Neck Road.

The new building’s 94 rental units consist of a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, plus a superintendent’s apartment. The façade of the building is glass.

Great Neck Plaza’s Affordable Housing Inclusionary Zoning Law in the village code was adopted in December 2005 and became effective on Jan. 1, 2006.

Variances for the building included expansion of underground garage parking from one level to two levels, a slightly reduced gross floor area and FAR, slightly increased front and side yard setbacks, and an altered drainage plan. Variances for this site were granted to a prior owner in 2010, but he never built after he received approvals.

Mayor Celender explained that 20 percent of the units are set aside for workforce housing. She said that approximately eight units were required under the village’s code and an additional 11 units are being provided under an agreement with the Nassau County Industrial Agency (IDA). The mayor said that the county has agreed that all of these workforce units may be controlled by the Village of Great Neck Plaza and will be maintained as work force rental units over the next 30 years.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a guest at the “topping off” ceremony, expressed his approval of both the affordable housing and the county’s agreement of handing over immediate control of the workforce housing units to the village.

While these apartments are under the program, rents for the workforce units will be set at 30 percent of the adjusted gross income of the eligible person’s household. People will be eligible if their household income falls within 50 percent to 100 percent of Nassau County’s median household income, with adjustments for household size and periodic updating of this income amount as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In addition to income, the mayor explained that the applicants for the workforce units must meet eligible categories of people who the Plaza is attempting to help provide affordable housing for; namely local firefighters, village employees, senior citizens and young professionals who are longtime Great Neck residents, and other applicants who this program “aims to benefit.”

Mayor Celender told the Great Neck Record that the rents for these workforce units are in the process of being established as the village crafts the regulations and procedures for the workforce housing pursuant to the village’s local law. She said that rents will be based on the latest HUD guidelines, on apartment unit size and occupancy and the median income of the families selected.

Mayor Celender said that she expects rents to be “approximately” in the range of $1,600 to $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,800 to $2,100 for a two-bedroom apartment. The mayor said that these rents are “significantly less than the market rentals for this brand new luxury apartment building.”

Eligible people will be required to file detailed statements on their financial history, including total net assets and such, to ensure that this program helps the ones most needing this housing. Mayor Celender said that a lottery will be held to select tenants for the work force rental units if there are more eligible people of equal priority than the number of available workforce housing units.

Mayor Celender stated: “The Village of Great Neck Plaza is proud of the Lalezarian Developers’ apartment building at 245-265 Great Neck Road and this first project being built under our Affordable Inclusionary Housing Program. In addition to hundreds of workers being employed on the site daily at a time when our community and region desperately needs construction jobs, we believe we are taking a ‘smart growth’ approach to providing needed next generation housing in partnership with Lalezarian Developers, an experienced and well-respected residential developer. We’re looking forward to its completion and occupancy in the coming months.”

As for rental pricing for the bulk of the apartments, those not designated as workforce housing units, attempts to reach the developer to answer this question was unsuccessful as of press-time.