Why are these folks gathered in West Hempstead?


Once a dilapidated eyesore for the West Hempstead community, the National Wholesale Liquidators’ property is officially being renovated into a luxury apartment complex. An air of celebration filled the once-abandoned lot as neighbors gathered to celebrate the $212 million investment.

Heatherwood, a family-owned real estate business based on Long Island, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday that saw more than 60 West Hempstead residents, local politicians and Heatherwood team members. The lot, at 111 Hempstead Turnpike, has been abandoned for years, but is soon to be home to hundreds of new neighbors.

“We’re finally here and ready to break ground on a once-in-a-generation development,” Chris Capece, president of Heatherwood, said. “Our promise to the community was this: We will make good on our word to execute the revisioning of this underutilized, derelict parcel on Long Island.”

A DJ played upbeat music as people enjoyed refreshments and complimentary T-shirts, while excited chatter filled tents providing cool shade from the hot day. Excavators lined up in front of the battered property as a promise of what’s to come — a beautiful development built from the ground-up and designed with the community’s needs in mind.

The support from community members and representatives was resounding — a testament to Heatherwood’s collaborative partnership with local politicians and neighborhood groups like the West Hempstead Community Support Association and the chamber of commerce.

“What a wonderful team in how this came about, from the developer’s vision, to civic support, to so many people in this community’s support,” Town Supervisor Don Clavin said. “It shows you what you can do when you listen to a community, you get community support, you work with local government.”

The property will feature 428 housing units across two buildings and a two-acre courtyard. Amenities are likely to include an outdoor and indoor fitness center, a work-from-home space, a pool, outdoor barbecues and fire pits, and a rooftop lounge.

The property has passed through the hands of multiple owners throughout the past decade and has never realized its full potential.

Capece and the owner of Heatherwood, Douglas Patrick, reiterated their dedication to the West Hempstead community. They both have family roots here — Patrick’s grandmother raised his mother here, and he visited her home frequently while growing up. Capece’s grandmother taught at Cornwell Avenue Elementary School for more than 30 years. For Capece and Patrick, the investment of $212 million is well worth revitalizing the local community.

“We're a company that does not merchant build and sell,” Capece said. “We’re long term owner operators and investors in the community. And that's the power of a 70-year-old, Long Island-based organization that operates its business here and believes in investment in its home market.”

Capece said Heatherwood, which will be a block from the train station, would be the largest transit-oriented development in the history of the Town of Hempstead. With the jobs and local spending the project is expected to bring, the community should receive a remarkable boost.

“The amount of jobs that we’ll create here — very, very important for the area,” Patrick said. “We are investing back in our community.”

Capece noted that the Heatherwood project has endured a few false starts. After buying the property from National Wholesale Liquidators in 2019, the company has weathered a pandemic, election cycles and economic turbulence. Through it all, Capece said, the company’s commitment to the West Hempstead community never once wavered. He added that especially during a time where people are leaving New York en masse, the Long Island economy must be able to stand independently of the city.

“At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars of investments are going to greener pastures, we are very proud that Heatherwood, we are investing over $200 million in revitalizing a blighted site in our home market.”

“It's not Heatherwood, it's the Heatherwood family that are committed to this project, committed to the community and committed to the town,” Patrick said. “We will deliver. That's one thing I can guarantee.”

As people gathered around Heatherwood’s commemorative sand sculpture to take pictures  — which are sure to serve as unrecognizable “before” photos of the property to Heatherwood’s impressive “after” — their reason for excitement was apparent: West Hempstead is finally getting the kind of properties they deserve.

“This project would not have come to fruition without the community's input, belief and fortitude to drive this project as one that would serve the community well,” Maureen Greenberg, president of the community support association, said. 

“Our small town, big heart once again proves that when we work together, we can move mountains — or old buildings — for the good of the community.”