The Village Square plaza on Brewster Street was the scene of another ribbon cutting this past week, with the prior one occurring on Sept. 25 at Harbor Landing. Both marked RXR Realty’s Garvies Point developments.
“I love having all these ribbon cuttings,” Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke said. “Every week we have a new one, which is great. I’m just happy to see that these are just as spectacular as you said they were going to be before they were built.”
Three years ago, Joe Graziose, RXR Realty’s executive vice president of residential development and construction, said the property was the site of dilapidated buildings. “And in less than three years with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, what you see behind us is what we’ve accomplished,” he said.
Village Square comprises 2.8 acres, and has 146 one- and two-bedroom rental apartments. There is also a 16,500-square-foot public plaza and 15,600 square feet of retail space. And there 171 parking spots, 69 of which are reserved in the Brewster Street garage.
Ten percent of the rentals have been designated as workforce housing, and winning applicants were chosen by a lottery in June.
The ‘blood, sweat and tears’ that it took to get Village Square to where it was today included removing a six-foot-diameter pipe that ran underneath the site, Graziose said. It was discovered about a month into construction.
“I remember going into [President of RXR Realty Michael Maturo’s] office, and I said ‘Mike, I have some bad news,’” Graziose said. “’We have this pipe. We have to bring this around.’”
Removing the pipe cost $2 million. “He said, ‘Joe, this is the last time you’re coming in this office,’” Graziose said. “I’m writing this number down, and I don’t want to hear from you.’ I think I’ve been back once or twice, but with much smaller issues.”
Another complication for the Garvies Point development as a whole, which includes Harbor Landing and The Beacon at Garvies Point, was the coronavirus pandemic.
“I know you said Joe that for 108 days you were shut down because of the crisis and that was very frustrating, but you went through that. You’re here,” State Sen. Jim Gaughran said. “This is a bright spot. This is a sign that we’re coming back and particularly for this great City of Glen Cove.”
Village Square is not only a transformation of what was once the site pf dilapidated buildings, Tenke said, but also it is a new place to hold community events, along with new residents in Glen Cove’s downtown.
“It really is for the community,” Tenke said. “And I think that’s what RXR always does when building an area. They want to make it so that the community benefits from these projects, and they’ve done that here.”
Graziose added that the project has helped the community by using local businesses. In fact, 18 percent of the project’s cost went to businesses in Glen Cove, including Safavieh Home Furnishings, and 50 percent of contracts were given to businesses in Nassau County.
The firm also worked with All Island Dermatology, Graziose said, because the practice was originally located on the Village Square site. “In assembling properties such as this, it’s important that we come together as a community and we find a way to move forward,” Graziose said. “Dr. Joseph Onorato [the owner of All Island Dermatology] has been on this site for much longer than RXR. He’s been here since 2007.”
All Island Dermatology will now be Village Square’s first commercial tenant, with 1,000 square feet of space. “We are very excited at All Island Dermatology to be part of this fantastic revitalization of Village Square,” Onorato said. It's "now the centerpiece and gem of the downtown area of the City of Glen Cove.”
Maturo called the project a “game changer” for the city. “Today’s topping out represents empirical evidence that we’re bringing Long Island back to life, more specially putting Long Islanders back to work,” he said, “in a safe environment.”
In Glen Cove, Village Square is just a part of Graziose’s vision.
“I’m a Glen Cove native, and I’ve lived here my entire life,” Graziose said. “We’re just going to continue to fulfill the dream, fulfill the vision, create jobs, build the economy, and it’s all good stuff in planning with our partners and the City of Glen Cove.”