Written by Joe Rizza Wednesday, 27 May 2009 12:44
The Mineola Village Board held a hearing last week on a proposal to build a nine-story, 257-unit condominium complex at 250 Old Country Road, the former Keyspan building. The proposal calls for the demolition of that office building, which is owned by the MTA, and the construction of the condominium complex that proponents believe will boost Mineola’s downtown area.
The five-story office building, located on the north side of Old Country Road and bounded on its east end by Third Avenue, was purchased by the MTA as part of the Intermodal Center project. The MTA agreed to put the building back on the market and a developer, known as 250 Old Country Road LLC, has agreed to purchase it in order to build the condominium complex.
Although the proposed building will be at a greater height and greater length (the proposed project totals 345,867 square feet) than the current office building, attorney for the applicant Kevin Walsh explained that the proposed project would greatly benefit the Village of Mineola.
According to Walsh, the proposed condominium complex would bring in residents to the downtown area, meaning a boost to local businesses whereas the current building brings no benefit to the village.
In addition, the condominium complex would bring in tax revenue to the village and school district. Because the Village of Mineola has separated its tax rates into two separate categories — residential and commercial — the residential tax base would see a projected increase of $477,000 derived from property taxes from the condominium complex. The Mineola School District would see an additional $1,925,000 in tax revenue while the complex could bring an additional 41 students (based only on a projection).
An additional benefit could be the creation of pedestrian traffic in the downtown area, which, after work hours, can seem pretty desolate. The project, it was pointed out, is in keeping with a key concept of the village’s master plan of creating a vibrant downtown.
While some Mineola residents looked favorably on the complex, some residents of Garden City did not. Some of Mineola’s neighbors to the south attended the hearing and expressed some concern over a potential impact the complex would have to the residents of the Cherry Valley apartment complex in Garden City.
Garden City First Deputy Mayor Donald T. Brudie asked Mineola Mayor Jack M. Martins if he would meet with residents of Cherry Valley to discuss some of the Cherry Valley residents’ concerns, which include a possible increase in traffic. Mayor Martins agreed to meet.
Some residents of Cherry Valley criticized the height of the complex, which amounts to 88 feet, and expressed concern over what this complex along with the proposed Winston, a nine-story, 285-unit condominium complex slated to be built on the north side of Old Country Road between Willis Avenue and Main Street, would do to the area.
“It’s turning more into a city,” said one Cherry Valley resident.
Tom Trypuc, a member of the board of directors of the Cherry Valley apartments, said that a lot construction projects in recent years have given the residents of Cherry Valley grief. He hinted that the residents should be given some sort of compensation, referring to an amenities package that has to be negotiated between the developer and the Village of Mineola.
Since the Village of Mineola Board of Trustees would be allowing an exception to the code in order to approve the condominium complex, the village is entitled to public amenities provided by the developer that would go toward the improvement of the Village of Mineola.
Some Mineola residents took exception to the comments made by the Cherry Valley residents. “We don’t owe you a dime,” said Mineola resident Ed Savarese.
Mineola resident Dennis Walsh pointed out that there have been construction projects on Franklin Avenue in Garden City. “If Garden City can have their tax relief, Mineola is entitled to our tax relief,” he said. “This is a very good project for the Village of Mineola.”
Mayor Martins pointed out that, by right of zoning, the developer could build an office building, but a residential development would be more beneficial to the village. The mayor said that there would be more hearings held on the proposed condominium with the next one most likely scheduled for next month.