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Lowe Properties Granted Special Use Permit

Next Showing December 14 Before Village Zoning Board

On Nov. 19, the Westbury Village Board of Trustees granted a special use permit to Lowe Properties, the developer of the movie theater on Post Avenue. This approval now frees the applicant to proceed with an application for a parking variance from Westbury’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

“The village has made a commitment to do everything in its power to have the approval process for this project coordinated and expedited so that the project, if approved by all the boards that need to weigh in, can move forward,” said Westbury Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro. “The project has been on the table for a long time, and it is now time to either get it done or allow the owner to make other arrangements. We are still very hopeful that if the applicant obtains all of the necessary approvals, work on the redevelopment can begin in the spring.”  

In addition to the special use permit, village attorney Dwight Kraemer said the project needs approvals for a variance from the zoning board as well as for its Site Plan from the planning board. “Each of the boards that are involved in the process has its own focus and its own authority, so the applicant needs to address any of the concerns that those boards have to continue to move the project forward,” said Kraemer.

The primary issue with regard to the project has been the lack of on-site parking. The application, as presented, requires 348 parking spaces under the village’s zoning code and Lowe Properties has agreed, among other things, to provide 156 spaces in connection with the plan by paying for the construction of a parking deck above the village’s Madison Street municipal parking lot.       

Currently, the zoning board has the theater project on its agenda for its Monday, Dec. 14 meeting.

“We are happy that the project is continuing to move along and that the applicant continues to remain committed to the project. The redevelopment of this site is an important element to our downtown revitalization plans, and the restoration of the building should have a very positive impact on the business district, and remove a blighted building from Post Avenue,” said Cavallaro.

In July 2001, the village closed the theater to the public deeming it “unsafe” and, over the next few years found itself involved in a lengthy legal battle with former owners Corrine and Rod Straehle. In November 2003 the village was awarded the authority to foreclose on the theater but two eleventh hour judgments postponed the public auction from taking place. It wasn’t until late September 2004 that the bankruptcy sale took place, with Lowe Properties of New York City coming in as the highest bidder to purchase the property for just under $1.7 million.  

Over the past five years, Cyrus Hakakian, who owns Lowe Properties with his three brothers, has been working with the village to return the movie house to its former glory. Hakakian told The Westbury Times that is he is “very thankful and excited” the village granted the special use permit. “After so long, things finally seem to be moving,” said Hakakian. “We are all on the same page and we anticipate things to go smoothly from here.”