With many village residents voicing concerns about there being a lack of available parking once the Regal Cinemas opens up on Merrick Road in Lynbrook in February, village officials have accepted an offer that would help alleviate the issue.
Moviegoers will now have the ability to have their car parked at the nearby Pistilli building, at 303 Merrick Road, where the parking garage is vacant at night.
“We’re going to be set up across from the movie theater,” said Kyle Baxter, the president of Impressive Parking, the company overseeing the valet parking. “Then, they’d just have to cross the street to go to the movie theater.”
The valet parking will be available for guests from 8 a.m. until the last movie ends at night, at a cost of $5 per car. During the week, only about 50 spots will be available for theater attendees until around 5 p.m., when employees who work in the building leave for the day. There are 120 parking spaces in the garage.
“As they leave, we’re going to be filling their spots with people who want to go the movies,” Baxter said.
Regal Cinemas spearheaded the valet parking plans as construction ramped up on the theater, which is near the shops on Atlantic Avenue. A Regal representative called the operators of the Pistilli building about using some of their parking spots.
But Larry Greenberg, the property manager of the Pistilli building, thought it would be better for the tenants to instate valet parking that both the people who work in the building and movie theater patrons could use. An agreement was then reached for signs pointing to the valet parking service to be put up near the theater.
“I approached my valet guy, and said, ‘These guys have no parking over there, and we’ve got parking after hours,’” Greenberg said. “I think it’s good for us and our tenants.”
Before Baxter agreed to set up valet parking at the building, however, he first wanted to speak to village officials. At the village board meeting on Nov. 6, Mayor Alan Beach and the trustees expressed their desire for more parking near the movie theater, and determined that a mixed-use permit would not be needed because it already serves as a parking lot.
“We can’t disapprove it,” Beach told the Herald. “There’s no need for any approval on it. It’s really going to be between him and Regal.” Beach noted that the theater may not open on Feb. 9, which was the most recent date announced, because of some delays in construction, and said it would likely be open by late February or early March.
Beach said that he does not anticipate the valet parking creating any traffic problems on Merrick Road, but added that he would speak to Baxter further about his plans.
The decision to add valet parking comes after 51 parking spots from the old theater were lost because of the new building’s increased size. As a result, village officials plan to amend parking regulations on Atlantic Avenue during peak movie hours, and to use a municipal parking lot on Broadway and Langdon Place — which was originally designated for the planned Marriott hotel before the project was scrapped in the summer. Village officials also plan for the parking lots behind the shops to be used at night when most of them are closed.
In June, the board also contracted Vision Long Island, a Northport-based consultant group, to determine whether the movie theater would have sufficient parking. It was the third such parking study conducted near the theater. In September, VLI presented its initial findings to the board and said that there was adequate parking.
“The theater fits very well in your current parking situation,” said Elissa Kyle, VLI’s planning director.
Parking has been a concern among residents and village officials since before construction began on the new movie theater. Beach said the valet parking plan would reduce the number of cars parked on the street and expressed happiness about the proposal. “I’m thrilled about it,” he said. “I think it’s great.”