Community News

Developing a plan for the Capri motel

Lynbrook invites developers to submit ideas for motor inn

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Lynbrook village officials have their eye on the Capri motel property.

On June 6, village board members approved the issuance of a request for proposals for the Capri Motor Inn property on Freer Street, to invite developers to draft plans for the location and try to negotiate a purchase price with the landowner.

“We’re interested in someone developing the area,” Mayor Bill Hendrick said. “And we also have a road that may be part of the development.” Officials said they would be willing to add 5,900 square feet of the village-owned Roxy Place to a proposed project.

The RFP identifies the Capri as a property that is “currently owned by others that has the potential to be redeveloped to better the community.” Additionally, it indicates that the village administration is willing to grant zoning incentives, because “the village realizes that the acquisition costs may exceed cost benefit thresholds of the proposer.”

Proposals must be submitted to the village by Aug. 31. At least two dozen real estate developers are on the mailing list for the RFP — a number that officials are hoping will increase in the coming weeks.

The move is in line with the village’s long-term redevelopment plan, which is focused on attracting new businesses and rental housing to boost the local economy and revitalize the downtown area. While the RFP doesn’t specify what kind of development would be considered, it stipulates that the plans must be in line with existing development goals for the area.

“It’s got to be compatible with the neighborhood, and not be offensive,” Village Administrator John Giordano said. “It has to be self-sufficient, with a reasonable number of parking spaces. We don’t want to overload neighboring residential streets; we don’t want anything that’s going to create noise or pollution.”

Giordano added that the most important component of a successful plan would be its financial feasibility. “We’re trying to think outside the box,” he said. “And by opening up the RFP process to developers in the region, we can get ideas from developers that have done projects in Westchester and in eastern Suffolk County as well. A lot of it is going to boil down to economics.”

This isn’t the first time the village administration has issued an RFP for redevelopment, Giordano said. About five years ago, a similar proposal was released to repurpose the Mangrove Feather factory on Langdon Street, which garnered interest from developers, but no project was approved.

The RFP follows recent public outcry about the motel being a nuisance to the community. There were two arrests near the Capri property in May — one of a man staying at the motel. Several nearby residents addressed the mayor and village board at a May 12 Town Hall meeting, saying they believed the establishment was contributing to crime in the area. The village began taking steps to curtail suspicious activity there in 2009, according to Giordano, who said that officials recommended adding security cameras, improving lighting and limiting the number of suspiciously short-staying guests.

“What amazes me is that [the mayor] can do all these things, close streets, sell streets and all this — I still don’t get the purpose,” said Joe Pizzuto, general manager of the Capri. “This building has been here for a long time, and it’s not bothering nobody.”

Pizzuto said that in his 17 years of hotel experience, the incidents at the Capri were insignificant. “I’m in this business so many years … I mean, granted, they may have an arrest, but I’ve been in so many hotels, this is nothing compared to what’s going on in other hotels.”

Pizzuto said he believed that the motel’s ownership, Apple Core Hotels, felt that selling the property would depend on the offers made. “Every hotel is for sale every day,” he said. “You give somebody the right number, they’re selling the hotel.”