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Village board OKs apartment complex for site of former feather factory

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The Lynbrook village board on Monday unanimously voted to approve a developer’s plans to build a 201-unit apartment complex at the site of the vacant former Mangrove Feather factory.

“It’s been a very, very long journey,” Mayor Alan Beach said. “Fifteen years and four mayors.”

The building has been dormant since 2008, and the Garden City-based Breslin Realty started negotiating with building owner Barry Singer to purchase the property in November 2017, finally closing a deal in March, pending board approval. The project is expected to cost $90 million to $100 million, and David Orwasher, the chief development officer for Breslin, 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.

Monday’s decision 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, and a public hearing last month where the project was mostly met with favorable reviews.

The complex will be a five-story building, with 55 studio apartments, 111 one-bedroom units and 35 two-bedrooms. Additionally, 10 percent of the units are to be designated as affordable workforce housing, for individuals or families at or below 130 percent of the area’s median income. Workforce housing generally includes those who are not typically eligible for affordable housing programs.

Before the vote, all board members spoke favorably about the project and explained why they thought it was a solid fit for the village. Deputy Mayor Michael Hawxhurst said he has seen many proposals for the site over the years, but thought this plan was best. He also said it would have been too costly for the village to purchase and develop the building, and lauded Orwasher for meeting with residents and addressing their concerns about potential traffic, design, parking and other issues, including the potential impact on the school district.

“When you look at a development that’s been over 15 years in the making, it’s not something that this village rushed into,” Hawxhurst said. “It’s not something where we took the first thing that came along to us.”

Trustee Ann Marie Reardon said she was also pleased with how the developer handled community outreach for the project, adding she believed it was a perfect fit for the village because it can attract millenials and retirees.

“There’s a great opportunity for people to come to Lynbrook,” she said, “and I think this development is a good start to bring them here.”

Trustee Robert Boccio called it a “tremendous opportunity and a massive investment,” which he said he hoped would help local businesses that have struggled after the coronavirus pandemic, while Trustee Laura Ryder said it’s rare that a company would invest $100 million in the village.

“I believe this proposal brings a lot of opportunities to Lynbrook,” she said, “to get rid of that terrible eyesore, which has been a blight on our downtown, and to be able to replace it with a state-of-the-art, upscale, tax-generating building.”

The building’s first two floors will house a parking garage, with 205 parking spaces for residents. Amenities will include a retail café, clubroom, concierge, rooftop terrace with grill, lounge, party room and dog run. Experts have also estimated that owing to the large number of studios and one-bedroom apartments, six to 19 school-age children would likely be added to the district.

The site 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 said he thought the site was an ideal spot because of its proximity to the Long Island Rail Road station and to downtown shops and restaurants. Breslin negotiated with Colliers International's Jordan Baruch and Matthew Kucker, who brokered the deal.

The plan now needs the OK from the Nassau County Department of Public Works and fire marshal before it can move forward, and will be reviewed by outside engineers, who must approve construction plans before a building permit can be issued. It will take about six to eight months to raze the vacant building and two years to build the new apartment complex.

This project is the latest that the board has approved for the village, in addition to 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.

“I believe we’re in the right direction having a quality person come into our village, and I believe that’s what Breslin represents,” Beach said. “Sometimes the stars align and things work out, and I think we’re very fortunate that the Breslin organization came along and is investing all this money in our village. It’s a good thing for us.”

To learn more about the project, visit restore4347broadwaylynbrookstation.com.