Lynbrook residents will soon get a chance to share their opinions and learn about a developer’s plan to build luxury rental apartments at the site of the Capri Lynbrook Motor Inn. The village board voted Monday night to set Oct. 21 as the public hearing date for the project.
Mayor Alan Beach announced in July that Anthony Bartone, of the Farmingdale-based Terwilliger & Bartone Properties, had agreed to purchase the Capri property. The motel has a history of drug, prostitution and assault arrests at or near the site, and elected officials have tried to shut it down for several years.
In August, Bartone hosted an open house at the Knights of Columbus to give residents an opportunity to meet with the developers and offer their input on what they would like to see there. After gathering feedback, his team developed a plan for the site, and Bartone said he was grateful to the public for helping to outline a vision for it, and that he was eager to share his plan.
“Resident participation made this a truly collaborative proposal,” he said in a statement, “by informing design and architectural decisions before any formal plans were developed, and we are pleased to announce the formal submission of an application for the Village of Lynbrook’s review. We will continue to actively listen and meet with residents, and we look forward to removing a nuisance property and supporting the tax base with a proposal Lynbrook can be proud of.”
The sale of the site is contingent on the board approving Bartone’s proposal, which is expected after the Oct. 21 public hearing. Until then, the Capri will continue to operate. Its general manager, Harry Wagner, said Capri officials were working with Bartone to see the sale through. “But for now,” Wagner said, “we’re open for business.”
Bartone has sought to develop apartments in the village since 2011. His last proposal, a $75 million luxury apartment complex and $10 million parking garage in the village — dubbed the Cornerstone at Lynbrook — caused a stir. It was scrapped last November after resident backlash over a perceived lack of information about the project and because of its scope. It also led to a contentious mayoral election between Beach and Hilary Becker, a former deputy mayor and a current trustee.
In learning from the Cornerstone fallout, Bartone said he planned to keep an open dialogue with residents. He set his sights on purchasing the Capri because it has been known as a neighborhood nuisance for many years, Bartone said, and he wanted to help turn it into a project that the community could support.
Several administrations have tried in vain to coax the Capri owners to sell the site for many years. In 2017, then Mayor William Hendrick created a panel of village officials that hosted several hearings with the motel owners to gather enough evidence to have their room-rental license revoked. After Hendrick died in October 2017, Beach and then Village Attorney Peter Ledwith remained on the case. Last November, village officials unanimously voted to revoke the licenses, but the owners appealed the decision to the Lynbrook Zoning Board before negotiating a private sale to Bartone.
Beach declined to comment after setting the public hearing Monday night, but when Bartone’s plan to purchase the property was announced in July, the mayor said he was pleased to see the Capri on track to be replaced.
“I think it’s wonderful, and we’re going in the right direction, and it seems very positive,” Beach said at the time. “What’s better than getting rid of such a tremendous headache for the village?”
In 2017, Capri Manager Joe Pizzuto said that many village officials’ claims about the motel were unfounded, including the allegations of prostitution. “There’s no prostitution there,” he said at the time. “There’s nothing going on.”
At the August open house, residents met with Bartone and his development team, and offered input on the design and architecture. Many expressed concerns about traffic congestion, parking and the building’s height. The new structure, Bartone said, would have self-contained parking on-site and would be geared toward transit-oriented development, and the height would not exceed the four-story Bristal Assisted Living facility nearby.
Beach and Bartone said they would work together to ensure the community is thoroughly informed about the project. For updates about it, visit www.teardowncapri.com