Progress report:

The Garvies Point Waterfront project


For Joe Graziose, senior vice-president of residential development for RXR, the real estate firm behind the Garvies Point project, the most satisfying part of the job comes after the foundations are laid; when, week by week, the skeleton of his buildings begin to rise up from the ground, and raw materials begin to form the shape of the architectural silhouettes from the models and artist renderings; the culmination of years’ worth of meetings, logistics and governmental approvals. It also happens to be the phase of construction that the Garvies Point development is in today.

If you drive down Garvies Point Road, you can see dark grey pillars, which will eventually become the buildings’ elevator shafts. On the unadorned concrete slab that will make up the first level of the Beacon development, orange construction paint impose the suggestion of a floor plan. Pointing through a large rectangular hole in the first level, Graziose pointed to a set of concrete pillars jutting up from the garage level below, with steel reinforcements poking out. “That’s where the pool is gonna go,” he said, noting that some of the metal rods were too long, and that his workers would simply have to “lop some off the top.”

Graziose said, and Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke agreed, that the project was a true public-private partnership, a term that Graziose said was overused in the industry, but in the case of Garvies, represented a true collaboration.

“[Graziose] asked us what kind of housing we’d like to see down there,” Tenke said, “and we said affordable senior housing.” The Herald Gazette has previously reported on a shortage of senior housing, with some rental units not taking applications, and others with 2-year waitlists. One of the “Phase Two” buildings, which have not yet been designed, is slated to help fill that need, according to Graziose.

Tenke also said that if it wasn’t for the project, the 56 acre plot, which was formerly contaminated and has since been cleaned by the developer, the land would have remained useless because the city probably couldn’t afford to clean it.

At city council meetings, some members of the public frequently raise the issue of PILOTs — or payments in lieu of taxes — granted to the developer related to the Garvies Point project. “Without the PILOTs,” Tenke said, “without that [public-private] partnership, it would basically be a gated community.”

Ann Fangmann said that the Garvies Point project is designed to mesh with the city’s other in-progress developments, particularly the Village Square project in the downtown area. She said that pedestrian walkways, retail and public amenities were all conceived with a mind toward cross-pollination between the waterfront and the downtown area. “It’s the culmination of decades and decades of planning,” she said, “and we’re right in the thick of it.”