At a public hearing Monday night, the Lynbrook village board unanimously agreed to postpone its vote on a 201-unit apartment complex proposed for the site of the former Mangrove Feather factory until its next meeting on June 7.
The project is expected to cost $90 million to $100 million, and David Orwasher, the chief development officer for the Garden City-based Breslin Realty, said he would likely seek a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement with the town or county Industrial Development Agency to complete it.
“As part of being a good steward, our pledge was to perhaps avail ourselves to a PILOT, but we will not reduce the taxes that the village or school district currently receive,” Orwasher said. “We will only grow the revenue and the receipts of the village, as well as the school and general taxes over time.”
Monday’s hearing came after Orwasher hosted two separate community meet-and-greets in April, at which he listened to feedback from residents and shared his vision for the site. The project would be a five-story building, with 55 studio apartments, 111 one-bedroom units and 35 two-bedrooms. Additionally, 10 percent of the units would be designated affordable workforce housing, for individuals or families at or below 130 percent of the area’s median income. It generally includes those who are not typically the target of, or eligible for, affordable housing programs.
The building’s first two floors would house a parking garage, with 205 parking spaces for residents. Amenities would include a retail café, a clubroom, a concierge, a rooftop terrace with a grilling area, a lounge, a party room and a dog run. Experts have also estimated that due to the substantial number of studios and one-bedroom apartments, no more than six to 19 school-age children would likely be added to the district.
Monday’s public hearing included presentations by an architect and traffic, parking and real estate experts, all of whom said they determined the project would be a proper fit for the village. The Nassau County Planning Commission also offered support for the plan at a May 6 hearing.
The Mangrove Feather factory has been dormant since 2008, and several village administrations have sought to develop it, but it took many years to persuade the owner, Barry Singer, to sell the property. Orwasher and Singer began negotiating a deal in November 2017, and finally reached one in March. Orwasher said he thought the site was an ideal spot for housing because of its proximity to the Long Island Rail Road station and to downtown shops and restaurants.
The project was met with praise from residents, business owners and chamber members at Monday’s meeting. Resident Thomas Burke, who called into the hearing, said he favored the plan because it would put a derelict building to use.
“I have lived on the South Shore my whole life and have lived in Lynbrook for 27 years,” he said. “Any time that I can see the feather factory go away, I will be whole-heartedly for that project. I have commuted to Manhattan for 20 years from the Lynbrook train station, and I drive by the feather factory every day. It was an eyesore then, and it’s an eyesore now. I think it’s time for that building to go.”
Harold Reese, who owns several properties in the village, said he favored the property too.
“This board should support this application,” he said. “The downtown needs it. Storeowners need it. The public needs it. I urge you to approve this application.”
Chamber of Commerce President Cory Hirsch had already endorsed the project, but reiterated his support for it at Monday’s hearing, noting that many millennials are paying off student loans and may not have money for a downpayment on a home in Lynbrook, but could stay in the village as renters with the addition of this apartment complex.
“I think this would be an enormous boon to our downtown businesses,” he said. “Lynbrook is doing pretty well right now . . . but there still are too many vacant stores, and I think a project like this will bring in a lot of people and a lot of specialty shops.”
Jeff Greenfield, who owns the NGL Group insurance company in the village and is the chamber’s vice president, also gave the project a favorable review, while praising the developer for putting together a lengthy presentation and taking the time to host open meetings with the public.
“This is a game-changer project for Lynbrook to eliminate an eyesore in the community that has been an eyesore for over 30 years,” he said.
If the board approves the project at its June 7 meeting, it would then need the OK from the Nassau County Department of Public Works and fire marshal before it could move forward, and would be subject to a review by outside engineers, who would have to approve construction plans before a building permit could be issued. It would take about six to eight months to raze the vacant building and then about two years for construction of the apartment complex.
Though board members did not share their opinions or take a vote on Monday, they have approved major development projects recently, including the 80-unit, $24 million Cornerstone at Yorkshire apartment project that is now under construction at the former site of the Capri Lynbrook Motor Inn. Mayor Alan Beach said in April that the village would keep an open mind about the proposal for the feather factory site.
“We’re very excited, and the board is open to all interesting projects that come to our village,” he said.
To learn more about the project, visit restore4347broadwaylynbrookstation.com.