Gold Coast Library to get major upgrade


The Gold Coast Public Library, in Glen Head, will relocate by the end of next year upon completion of a new construction project that also includes plans for a new self-storage facility.

The former site of an industrial building, at 180 Glen Head Road, will be the new home of the library, which has long needed more space to accommodate programming, storage and visitor parking.

In December, residents approved a $10.8 million bond to go toward the estimated $11.4 million project, which will allow the library to relocate from its leased space by the Glen Head Long Island Rail Road station. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

“It’s been a dream working on this project,” Nancy Benchimol, president of the library board, said. “Now we’re going to be able to provide our community with all the services we’re presently doing, but in a much more economic manner, in a larger space.”

Before community approval of the bond, the library board evaluated a number of properties, and made its final choice based on several criteria, including the ability to:

Purchase an affordable property within the community.

Construct a larger library to serve the community under one roof now and in the future.

Provide residents with expanded programs, services and community events.

Provide ample parking during daily use and larger events and create an outdoor space for use by  patrons.

“The idea is not to make the largest library ever,” Mike Morea, the Gold Coast Library director, said. “We’re simply hoping to have a wholly owned library property to allow us to serve the community better, have an outdoor space, and be able to provide our visitors with all of the programming and services we do now, just in a more comfortable and streamlined manner.”

Before and during the coronavirus pandemic, it became increasingly apparent that the current library building did not have the flexibility to serve the expanding needs of the community. In a typical year, the library circulates about 100,000 items and has 80,000 visits from community residents.The Gold Coast Public Library currently is the smallest library in Nassau County, needing to lease a second location to provide basic functions, including programming and community space.

To address these concerns, the board of trustees explored purchasing land and building a new library. The existing disjointed, partially leased library space is not permanently secured and requires an annual rent payment of nearly $100,000. The new library will be about 30 percent larger than the current library, increasing the size from 7,500 square feet to 10,000 to 10,500 square feet.

The long-vacant site of the new library in Glen Head was demolished to make way for the development of the planned storage facility and library. A little more than two and half acres of the site will be redeveloped into the new 11,000-square-foot home of Gold Coast Public Library. The library is in contract to buy the property for $2.25 million, and the sale is expected to close shortly.

“We’ve been looking to try to get all our services under one roof and haven’t found the best building until this property became available,” Benchimol said. “Now we can build a building that will not only allow us to have our programs there, but will also have special spaces for children, teens and adults. We’ll have space around the library, too, so we can have outside activities and programs, which we unfortunately have been unable to do in our current space.”

The remaining 2.25 acres of property will be home to a 900-unit self-storage facility that will be built by Spartanburg, S.C.-based real estate developers, Johnson Development Associates, who paid $3.1 million for the land. The new storage facility will be operated under the Life Storage brand and is slated to open next spring.

Johnson Development operates 31 self-storage properties in the Southeast, all of which are managed by real estate investment trusts CubeSmart, Extra Space Storage Inc. and Life Storage Inc. Its portfolio of commercial and industrial property development includes self-storage facilities, multi-family rental communities and single-tenant industrial space.

Because the library now shares a lot with the Glen Head LIRR station, library patrons not only have to share it with commuters, but also run the risk of being fined for parking in reserved commuter spaces.

“We won’t have a parking problem anymore, which has been our major problem at the current space,” Benchimol said. “We’re in the Long Island Rail Road parking lot, which has limited spaces, which are metered. The new space will have room for free parking in a library-only lot.”

The next step is for the library to purchase the land. Morrea said once that is done, construction is expected to begin in the spring, and be completed by late 2022.

“We’re excited to get back to our programming,” Morrea said. “We’ve always had a nice mix of story times and different classes for adults such as cooking classes, exercise classes and lectures. We’re also excited to have more dedicated study spaces. It’s all going to be in the same building, which will make it much easier to run.”