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Wednesday, September 3, 2014
CDA rejects proposals for Plaza West
by Laura Schofer

Freeport’s Community Development Agency voted unanimously on Tuesday, June 10 to reject all the proposals submitted in January to develop Plaza West.

“The Board decided that the proposals did not meet the general criteria we were looking for,” said Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy. “The Board is unhappy with the residential component of these proposals and is looking for a development that is a mix of commercial and professional.”

The Plaza West parcel, located on Sunrise Highway in Freeport, includes the Meadow Brook bank building and the adjacent lot as well as the Church Street triangle.

Six proposals were submitted to the Village of Freeport in January; four projects were a mix of residential and commercial development. The other two proposals included a hotel development.

In February, the village Board of Trustees voted to authorize Harris Beach as special counsel to Freeport to begin contract negotiations with one of the developers - Georgica Green of Jericho.

Development at this site had been stymied due to litigation that lasted seven years and cost taxpayers over $1 million. It was settled last year and the village issued an RFP in the spring of 2013. That RFP provided the village with a $5.5 million offer but the mayor and village board decided to reissue the RFP and increase the offering’s footprint to include the Church Street triangle property and Plaza West Road behind the property on Sunrise Highway. In a December 19 interview with The Leader Mayor Kennedy said the village was looking to “see a hotel there and want a mixed use for that property.”

However, plans have changed. Mayor Kennedy said the CDA “will be reviewing additional offers for a commercial/professional development and will make a decision in the near future.”

The fate of the old Meadow Brook bank building remains unknown. The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities [SPLIA] placed the building on its 2013 list of endangered historic places. SPLIA advocates saving the building by making use of rehab tax credits and multi-modal high density downtown revitalization incentives.

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