At the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce meeting on September 15, a dozen business owners and residents gathered at the Novi Restaurant to hear David Orwasher, Director of Development at Breslin Realty, a business development company, discuss site plans for a 215-unit mixed-use building. development that the company has proposed for Grand Avenue and Sunrise Highway.
The company filed the plans with the Town of Hempstead Building Department for review. The structure, if approved, would be four and a half stories tall.
Orwasher said Long Island has relatively few affordable rental units for empty, fixed-income nesters and young professionals starting their careers. They âmay want to stay on Long Island but cannot find affordable housing,â he said.
The units would include studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments starting at $ 1,800 per month, with 10 percent of units set aside for workforce housing.
âWe’re not looking to place a burden on a school district,â Orwasher said. “What we’re looking to do is stop the migration outside of Long Island for lack of” housing.
The original plans for the $ 95 million structure, which would span 1.71 acres, called for around 240 residential units in a six-story building, but they have since been amended to reflect the public’s contribution. The complex would offer concierge service, on-site underground parking, 5,000 feet of restaurants and retail outlets, and a public park.
Karen Montalbano of the Baldwin Civic Association asked Orwasher if the project would comply with city code. “We comply in all respects with one exception – with respect to the units developed by code per acre,” Orwasher replied.
The city code limits development to 60 units per acre for a seven-story building, which Orwasher said was “sensible legislation, but the devil lies in enforcement.”
âThere is no advantage in suppressing the trade. You want to increase your tax revenue and you want to grow your business, âOrwasher said in response to the public’s preference for fewer units.
“We want development, not overdevelopment,” Montalbano said later.
For years, residents, consultants, and state and city officials have discussed potential developments for the Baldwin Zoning Overlay District, which has a temporary zoning code to encourage developers to there. build and revitalize the ailing city center. An overlay district adapts the zoning requirements to a particular area in order to best encourage development with the least amount of disruption by reducing barriers for potential developers.
The efforts will be partially funded by the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, for which Baldwin received a $ 10 million grant to redevelop the downtown area, which runs along Grand Avenue, starting near the Long Island Rail Road station, where the Breslin Realty project would be built. The Breslin Project would receive approximately $ 2 million of these funds.
Chamber Speaker Erik Mahler said: âWe fully support this project or any project that could attract more consumers to the Baldwin areas. Sanitation Commissioner Leroy Roberts echoed Mahler’s sentiment, saying: “It’s been 50 years, let’s do something to Baldwin.
House members defended the project and in July launched a petition to support it, which has since garnered around 750 signatures.
Next steps after the architectural review of the application and potential acceptance as compliant, Orwasher said, would be a city hearing, which Orwasher says will take place before the end of the year, barring any delays in because of the November elections.