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Developer pitches $75 million apartment complex, parking garage for Lynbrook

Public hearing set for Oct. 1

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Lynbrook village officials have set Oct. 1 for a public hearing at which a developer will present a proposal to build a transit-oriented apartment building and a parking garage downtown.

Farmingdale-based Terwilliger & Bartone Properties has proposed the $75 million, 200-unit apartment complex, to be called the Cornerstone at Lynbrook, on the southwest corner of Earle Avenue and St. James Place. The two-acre parcel is now occupied by an office building and a parking lot that is used mostly by employees of local businesses.

According to a tentative agreement with village officials, in exchange for being granted permission to build the complex, the developer would also construct a 400-space parking garage at Broadway and Langdon Place, on top of what is now a commuter parking lot near the Long Island Rail Road station, as well as a 9,000-square-foot park on Broadway. Lynbrook Mayor Alan Beach said that Terwilliger & Bartone would fund the $10 million garage, but the village could select the builder.

“I think it’s a good shot in the arm for the village for added tax value,” Beach said of the proposal. “It’s all taxable real estate, and we’re getting added parking, which we desperately need if we’re going to move forward.”

Beach said that areas like Rockville Centre, Farmingdale and Patchogue have boosted their downtown economies by building transit-oriented apartments.

Developer Anthony Bartone said the plan would first involve razing the office building on Earle Avenue and St. James Place to create a temporary parking area. Then developers would build the parking garage on top of parking field 3 at Broadway and Langdon Place, meaning that 133 parking spaces would be lost during construction. According to Bartone, it would take six to eight months to complete the garage, and another 18 months to build the apartment complex on top of parking field 8, which would mean a loss of 150 spaces during construction.

Bartone and Beach said they are working with Building Department Superintendent Brian Stanton and Village Clerk John Giordano to find a solution to the parking disruptions during construction, but neither offered further details. The plan would also affect an agreement that the village has with Regal Entertainment Group, in which officials have agreed to provide 685 parking spaces within a 1,000-foot radius of Regal Cinemas 13 for moviegoers — which includes spaces in lots 3 and 8. Beach expressed confidence that the company would be flexible about the stipulation, citing conversations he has had with Jerry Grewe, Regal’s vice president of real estate, because the parking garage would eventually add more spaces for theater patrons to park in, resolving a major concern. A Regal representative did not return calls requesting comment.

Bartone first approached village officials with the project on June 18, and Beach and the board of trustees set a date for the public hearing during their Aug. 20 meeting. Bartone said he believes Lynbrook would be a perfect area for transit-oriented housing.

“We understand that with change comes anxiety,” Bartone said. “Ninety percent of Lynbrook we don’t want to change, but 10 percent needs to be strategically developed, and you need to do that in your downtowns.”

Bartone said that his company recently built two apartment complexes in Farmingdale to help revitalize the downtown there. It will also break ground on a new $30 million, 55-and-over rental complex in Hauppauge next month.

The size of the Cornerstone at Lynbrook has not been finalized, Bartone said, but it would offer a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. A Herald inquiry as to the expected price for each was not answered as of press time. Amenities would include a fitness center, a courtyard, a rooftop patio and a clubroom with a fireplace, a pool table and a television. The first floor would be a parking area for tenants, but because it would be located in the village’s cultural arts overlay district, it would not have to adhere to the village code of 2.5 parking spaces per resident, Beach said.

Ten percent of the units would be set aside as workforce housing for those earning a smaller percentage of the county’s median income, but are able to demonstrate stable income.

Bartone noted that environmental impact studies have been completed, and the lots were deemed fitting sites for the project.

The parking garage on Broadway and Langdon Place would be about 45 feet high, and Bartone said that the façade would be “aesthetically appealing.” Each space in the garage would be designated for resident and commuter parking. Officials are also discussing the possibility of installing cameras in the garage, which would be monitored by the Lynbrook Police Department.

Bartone said that the developers plan to apply for a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement with the county’s Industrial Development Agency. He noted, however, that once the building was complete, it would generate more than $500,000 in property taxes a year. The project would also create 239 construction jobs, and Bartone predicted that the added foot traffic would be a boon for downtown businesses.

“The boost that this will provide to the merchants in the downtown is immeasurable,” he said.

According to Beach, the project would not affect a plan to convert the former Mangrove Feather factory into an apartment complex. Garden City-based Breslin Realty is still in negotiations with the owner of the building.

Bartone said he planned to meet with the Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 4 at 8 a.m. to discuss the project. In addition to the public hearing on Oct. 1, Beach said, he has invited Bartone to attend the Sept. 17 village board meeting to address any questions from residents. He was unable to confirm whether Bartone would attend as of press time.

Bartone said he has wanted to bring a project like this to Lynbrook for more than a decade. “There’s no reason the Village of Lynbrook should not be the No. 1 village on Long Island,” he said. “It has every ingredient that would be needed for a thriving downtown.”