Village of Lynbrook officials are mulling a proposal by development company Mill Creek Residential to build a luxury apartment complex on Rocklyn Avenue, near Merrick Road. Hot Skates, Fun Station USA and Hi Tech Security now occupy the three-acre site.
“Today’s apartment residents are craving a downtown living experience along with convenient access to a mix of urban and suburban lifestyle experiences,” Russell Tepper, a senior managing director at MCR, wrote in an email to the Herald. “Lynbrook’s new residential community would serve all types of residents … so that they may take advantage of the luxuries of suburban living, without sacrificing the trappings of an urban, modern lifestyle.”
MCR acquires and operates high-end rental communities across the country, and has built complexes in West Hempstead, Mineola, Yonkers, Westchester County and New Jersey. Tepper said that the company would create a transit-oriented residential community — a walkable neighborhood within a half-mile of public transportation.
Tepper and Nick Halstead, a development associate for MCR, presented their ideas to Mayor Bill Hendrick and the village board at an Aug. 14 meeting. They proposed the construction of 250 studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments, with courtyards and amenities including outdoor kitchens, balconies and rooftop decks. Company representatives did not offer details about the buildings’ design, or what they might rent for, but Tepper said they would be intended for millennials as well as baby boomers looking to downsize. He added that MCR would offer one-year leases, and that, on average, 60 percent of residents in other buildings designed by the company renew their leases.
The proposed complex would have a parking lot with 1½ spaces per apartment. A shuttle would be available, Tepper said, for residents to take to and from train stations and other forms of mass transportation. They would be zoned for the Malverne School District. According to Village Attorney Peter Ledwith, the board would have to pass a law to create a new overlay district — an area around the development with different standards and rules to those in the rest of the village — because village code requires 2½ parking spaces per apartment.
According to Tepper, the sale of the businesses has not been finalized, and the deal is also contingent on approval by the board. Hendrick declined to comment when asked whether he had discussed the proposition with the trustees, or when the board might decide on whether to proceed with a public hearing.
Last month, Hendrick told the Herald that he and the board were open to proposals for condominiums in the village, but did not mention rental apartments. The comments came after a hotel developer backed out of a project that had been in the works for 13 years to build a Courtyard by Marriott downtown.
Should the apartment project move forward, Tepper said, it would take about 24 months to complete construction, and MCR’s goal would be to have as many as 95 apartments leased three months before the work is completed. He added that the company would make an investment of about $80 million in the complex, and apply to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency for a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, plan, most likely for 20 years.
Jeff Greenfield, the president of the Nassau County Planning Commission, who also serves on the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce, noted the shortage of rental apartments in Nassau County. He added that he had faith in Mill Creek based on the projects it has completed, and that he was a proponent of the location, which is within 500 feet of his business — NGL Insurance Group, LLC.
“That end of the village is surrounded by the railroad, a lumber yard and a cemetery,” Greenfield said, referring to the Rockville Centre Rail Road station, U.S. Lumber & Supply and the Rockville Cemetery. “It will have the least impact upon the residential community, yet it will provide for an economic benefit to the community.”
Greenfield added that because the complex would be so close to his business, he would recuse himself should the planning commission have to get involved. According to Greenfield, he and other members of the chamber met with Tepper and Halstead earlier this month, before their presentation to the board. He made the point that since the proposal is for a transit-oriented district, there wouldn’t be a need for as many parking spaces, and that the proposed parking space-per-apartment ratio was on par with similar complexes in other areas of the county.
Greenfield also addressed rumors about the apartments being used for Section 8 housing that started on social media. He said the speculation was unfounded, and added that Tepper and Halstead told the chamber that the complex would not be used for that purpose.
Tepper said that the apartments would provide a financial boon for Lynbrook, even though the proposed location is not in its downtown. The village, he explained, would receive two to three times the tax revenue now being generated by the businesses on the site. “Based on previous success, it is our hope that these residences will be met with the same demand we’ve experienced in the area,” he said, “as Nassau County continues to thrive as a true residential destination.”