Replacing a ‘blighted eyesore’


At one of the many rallies in recent years attended by West Hempstead residents determined to see the end of the Courtesy Hotel, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray said, “We’ve worked very hard to rid West Hempstead of this community blight, and we eagerly await its replacement with the proposed residential complex that will be both beautiful and community-friendly.”

The decade-long bad dream ended in December, with the opening of an apartment complex known as West 130, and two months later, occupancy is ahead of schedule.

The Courtesy was known throughout West Hempstead — and much of Nassau County — for its problems with drug dealing, small-time prostitution and other crimes. For years, published reports in the Herald and elsewhere documented its decline, local and county officials made regular arrests on its premises and a number of registered sex offenders took up residence there.

“Every kind of bad nightmare you could envision for your community happened here,” Murray told reporters at the hotel’s demolition, in May 2011.

But now the blight is bring redeemed, and West 130’s 150 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments

are filling quickly. Nearly 40 are already rented, according to James Stover, a vice president of Mill Creek, the company that developed the building at 130 Hempstead Ave.

Stover told the Herald that the renters range from “young professionals looking for an easy commute to Manhattan to seniors who no longer need their large homes and don’t want to shovel snow any longer.”

In late 2008, the town created a “transit-oriented development” zoning classification for the area, allowing the development to be a higher density than the surrounding parcels. That gave developers such as Mill Creek an incentive to purchase the unwanted hotel and convert it to residential use.

Mill Creek literature describes West 130 as a “transit-oriented luxury rental community” that will “provide housing options especially for young professionals who commute to jobs in Manhattan.”

The apartments are so close to the West Hempstead Long Island Rail Road station that resident only have to walk out of the building and around the corner to board their trains.

The four-story building features underground parking, as well as such upscale amenities as a pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a business center, a game room and an outdoor fire pit.

On May 12, 2011, Murray led the cheers as a large crowd watched a wrecking ball take aim at the Courtesy. The crowd cheered every time the wrecking ball hit the building, until it flattened it.

Murray now says she is thrilled by what she sees at the site. “The town … is ecstatic about the opening of West 130, a beautiful, ‘smart-growth’ luxury apartment community …,” she said in a press release. “The town is proud to partner with Mill Creek Residential Trust on this project, creating a groundbreaking transit oriented development zone, which made it possible for desirable and attractive residences to replace a blighted eyesore known as the Courtesy Hotel. The West 130 luxury apartment complex is restoring luster to West Hempstead’s downtown.