Fixing the feather factory

Lynbrook board working toward building rental apartments


Lynbrook village officials are inching closer to brokering an agreement between a development company and the owner of the vacant Mangrove Feather factory to construct rental apartments on the site.

Mayor Alan Beach said the village board has been in talks with the Garden City-based Breslin Realty Development Corp. and Barry Singer, the owner of the building, at Broadway and Langdon Place. Beach added that Breslin representatives would make a presentation at the next board meeting on Dec. 11.

“It involves getting rid of a terrible eyesore in our village,” Beach said. “It will create foot traffic for our downtown in our village, and we’re shooting for young millennials and people that are looking to downsize and stay within our village.”

Calls to Breslin for further details and requests for comment from Singer had not been returned as of press time. Beach said that a timeline and further details about the project would be revealed at the next meeting.

Beach said that the building would have about 102 one-bedroom apartments and 111 parking spaces. The first floor would be a garage, he added, and the developer has also purchased a vacant lot on the west side of Langdon Place to offer additional parking. And, he said, the complex would include a gym.

Village Clerk John Giordano said that a public hearing would be opened and adjourned on Dec. 11, and resumed at the board’s Jan. 22 meeting, at which residents would be offered the chance to comment on the proposal. He added that the board would vote at its next meeting on whether to add the building to the Cultural Arts Overlay District, which would enable the village to act as the lead agency in determining what will happen next to the building. That would give the board the right to determine the structure’s height without forcing the developer to apply for a variance, Beach said.

Giordano said that the feather factory has been mostly empty for two decades, except for small offices that were used there for a short time. It has been dormant since 2008.

“The community has been very anxious to see the property improved,” he said.

Village officials have tried to work out a deal with Singer for many years, but haven’t succeeded in coming to terms. A Courtyard by Marriott hotel was planned there, but after an agreement could not be reached among Singer, hotel developer Lee Browning and village officials, the plans were scrapped. The hotel was later proposed for the municipal parking lot next to the building, but Browning pulled out of the project last summer after 13 years of trying to complete it.

Beach said he was unsure what Singer’s asking price was for the former factory, but he expressed confidence that the parties would be able to work out a deal. According to Beach, he contacted Singer in an attempt to reach a deal shortly after he assumed office following the sudden death of Mayor William Hendrick in October. He and Singer then met on Nov. 9 to discuss the building’s fate. “He was very receptive,” Beach said. “We sat and had a nice conversation, and we discussed moving forward.”

Singer then brought in Breslin’s chief development officer, David Orwasher, to meet with Beach. Orwasher presented his ideas for the site, to be called the Feather Building, to the village board behind closed doors at its Nov. 20 meeting.

In his presentation, Orwasher said that redeveloping the site would honor the village’s history, return a significant asset to the tax rolls and anchor revitalization of the village’s downtown. He noted that similar projects by Breslin in Roslyn, Garden City, Great Neck, Mineola, Farmingdale, Floral Park, Westbury and Patchogue were successful in achieving such goals. He added the location’s proximity to Lynbrook’s Long Island Rail Road station and its downtown shopping district would be selling points for anyone who might want to move in.

Because the apartment complex would comprise only one-bedroom apartments, Beach said he believed it would help attract millennials, empty-nesters, residents looking to downsize and couples just starting out.

“This would bring in people who are just looking for a single-bedroom apartment,” Beach said. “It doesn’t affect our schools, and will add revenue to our school’s budget.”

“We’re trying to move forward with it as quickly as possible, because we think this is great,” he added. “I think this is a good thing for the village.”