Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00
After major redesigns, resets and remodeling, the development of 250 Old Country Road will finally kick off sometime in the spring, Mineola village officials revealed. Mineola Properties (MP) LLC will construct a 315-rental unit complex a stones throw from the Nassau County Legislature.
The rental complex will consist of one, two and three-bedroom units. The proposal indicates 166 one-bedroom apartments, 127 two and 22 three-bedroom apartments would be housed in the new configuration. Thirty-two units will be used for next generation/first responder housing.
The 343,000 square-foot building will replace a developmental rigmarole that has been owned by former power authority LILCO, Keyspan and the MTA. The structure is approximately 5-feet shorter to the top of the proposed penthouse than in a previous proposal. Along Old Country Road, the building height would be 84-feet-9 inches tall, while on Third Street the building would reach 94-feet-2 inches in height.
The first plan was denied on Nov. 21, 2008. According to Village Attorney John Spellman, Mineola building inspectors felt the project was contrary to zoning regulations. MP originally planned to build condominiums on the site.
On July 15, 2009, the board of trustees said the building did not have enough on-site parking, resulting in spillover into local parking. In May 2012, legal council representative Kevin Walsh cited major architectural and occupancy changes to the project, indicating the building would hold 686 residents, an increase of 198 from its previous proposal in 2009 for a “townhouse-like” development. The board was unsatisfied with those changes and asked for additional adjustments.
The plan saw a 108 parking space decrease from the presentation in May. The new allotment calls for 410 parking spaces. There will be 12 indoor visitor parking spaces.
“The project will bring new purchasing power to businesses in Mineola and Garden City; the project could serve as a model for downtown revitalization,” the village said in a written decision.
The village will receive $3.1 million in lieu of further amenities from MP. That represents a $600,000 increase from the previous proposal that both legal councils negotiated, according to documents obtained by the Mineola American. The developers need to pay for the improvements to the streetscape.
“This board conducted numerous hearings concerning this proposal and has negotiated for many months with the applicant in order to bring the application to a point where it could be voted upon,” Mayor Scott Strauss said.
Village Trustee Paul Cusato was going to originally vote against the project, but had a change of heart after the first-responder rental units were being implemented. He does have one concern: building height.
“My concern now is three weeks from now, three months from now, three years from now, another developer comes and wants to build a bigger building and say ‘but this building is only three stories higher than [250 Old Country Road],” he said. “I think down the road, we need to establish a height limitation. We had it a number of years ago.”
Mineola will receive five installments of $620,000. Developer Ken Lalezarian was asked recently, as he was in May, if he planned to sell development rights as Polimeni International LLC did with the Winston Manor project. Lalezarian reiterated his stance that he wouldn’t.
He did not return calls for comment.
“Our downtown business community needs this injection of people, foot traffic,” Trustee Paul Pereira said. “This will go along way in creating that.”
The developer and Mineola will enter into a Community Host Benefit Agreement, which states Lalezarian will pay the village monies. The agreement runs between 2015 and 2034.
“We have done the best we can do with the charge that we have to promote the best interest of this village and its residents,” Spellman said.
In the decision, Mineola said the project, “shall advance the village’s specific physical, cultural and social policies in accordance with the village’s comprehensive master plan.”
MP was granted a 20-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) beginning in 2015. The last time Lalezarian attained relief from the IDA, he was granted a 30-year PILOT for Great Neck Plaza; a timeframe he originally sought for Old Country Road.
“Despite my concerns, I support the project,” Trustee Larry Werther said, who questioned the PILOT agreement and school district tax rolls in terms of the project. “I certainly want our responders to be taken care of.”