Village Square project moves ahead after lone holdout sells


After nearly six months of negotiations, Village Square and Garvies Waterfront developer RXR Realty reached an agreement with All Island Realty to purchase the final parcel in the blighted Village Square, which will now be redeveloped.

When complete, the Village Square project will include a 16,500-square-foot public plaza, restaurants, retail stores, and 146 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The sale contract with parcel owner Dr. Joseph Onorato, of All Island Dermatology, was finalized on Sept. 15. He was the last building owner in the area to sell his property.

“The dermatologist held up the works for quite a while,” said Glen Cove resident Stuart Held, who, along with his wife, Nina, are long-time patients of Onorato. “The workers in the building were miserable, and the patients felt like you were in a destroyed city getting into the office. I’m happy something is finally moving in some favorable direction. The city needs the revenue.”

During the two-year reconstruction of Village Square, Onorato’s office will move to a temporary 3,000-square-foot office at 3 School St. Once the project is complete, the office will return to a ground-floor, 1,900-square-foot office condominium in the new Village Square.

RXR is paying the rent for the temporary School Street location, in addition to relocation costs.

The agreement comes after the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency initiated an eminent domain proceeding on Onorato’s property on Jan. 10, but the discussion of a public takeover of the property did not begin until May, according to IDA attorney Michael Zarin.

Zarin said that All Island and the IDA agreed to a “voluntary eminent domain,” entailing “cooperative condemnation” after the contract was finalized.

“It’s a reasonable agreement that serves the interest of the city and Dr. Onorato,” said Onorato’s attorney Saul Fenchel. “We also have to compliment RXR and the city for their assistance in getting this whole thing done.”

One of Onorato’s stipulations was staying in Glen Cove, which he is now able to do. His temporary office opened the week of Sept. 18.

“I think it was a successful, positive outcome,” Zarin said. “Onorato gets great space, RXR is able to proceed with development, and the city hopefully gets strong resurgence.”

“I think we were able to come up with a solution that worked for all the parties,” said Frank Haftel, first vice president of RXR. “They were able to stay in Glen Cove. They wanted to stay in Village Square. And we were able to find a solution. It took a little creativity, but we were able to find common ground.”

Demolition of the property began on Sept. 7. Construction on Village Square is expected to begin later this year.

In other news…

The City Council voted to approve a one-time payment in lieu of parking from RXR for the Village Square project.

The 146 apartments require 240 on-site parking spots, according to city zoning laws. The current plan allows for only 171. The remaining 69 spots will be in the neighboring Brewster Street garage, designated for Village Square use.

Because the Brewster Garage is not on-site, RXR will make a one time PILOP at $3,000 per spot for a total of $207,000 to the city.

Mayor Reggie Spinello said funds would be used for garage improvements and repairs.