Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 17 June 2011 00:00
What to do with Garden City’s green space continued to be an issue on the minds of residents as they were presented the site plans for the development of the southern portion of the former Doubleday property into a three-story, 54-unit condominium complex on the east side of Franklin Avenue.
Garden City resident Kevin Walsh, an attorney representing EB 301 Realty, gave an overview of the proposal to members of the Planning Commission last week. Walsh stated that he, on behalf of his client, submitted a plan for three variances to the zoning board to advance the project. “We hope to be increasing the tax base for this village in a much greater way than potentially…would’ve been. I think we all agree it’s important to increase the tax base in a reasonable way whenever we can. And certainly, we think that the development of this site will do that among other things,” Walsh said.
According to Walsh, a full planning approach to the development of the property was created, including traffic reports and studies on all aspects of the effects the development that the property may have on the school district, as well as tax base. Walsh said he would make the data available to anyone who needs it, including members of the Property Owners’ Associations.
The Doubleday property site has historical significance in the Village of Garden City. Walsh said that the village considered development of the land in 1989 and a study was performed on possible build scenarios. Walsh stated that he has learned that the trend in the village is to always be more restrictive when it comes to legislation. “Sometimes we think we are going the other way. We’re losing all of our open spaces and all that. The reality of this thing is that if somebody developed back in 1989 these sites, they wouldn’t have been able to develop them under the existing code to a much greater extent than we can ever do today. That’s a good thing,” Walsh said.
The potential developer’s plan calls to create a total of 54 condo units in the southern portion of the property. “If people take a look at it, it’s not an over intensification of the use of this property. It’s actually a very reasonable and professional to develop the remaining site,” Walsh added.
It was indicated that the Doubleday building consists of three separate lots, which can be zoned for commercial or residential uses. Walsh maintained that the owners of the building want to use mixed-use component of commercial and residential uses for the site, which he says will lessen the impacts associated with development.
“It’s a natural complement to the site to have residential as well as the commercial units there,” Walsh explained.
Trustee Nicholas Episcopia attended the presentation and inquired as to the size of the units. Walsh explained that all the condos will be 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom units and are 1,440 square feet, which does not include the balconies. Walsh estimated the cost of each condominium could run $650,000 each and will not be situated in a gated community.
One resident asked how long construction of the complex will take should the site plan be approved by the village. Walsh said that he anticipates that after approval, it will be built in 18 months or less.
Garden City Merchants, Professionals & Retailer Group Chairman John Wilton, a resident who lives behind the property, vocalized his support of the project. He said he believes “the calculation of this will have a vital impact on not only our tax base, which the village desperately needs to increase, but also on the vitality of the downtown marketplace because for each one unit built, supposedly 3.4 jobs are generated and then from that x amount of dollars are spent on commodities, food, etc., things of that nature. So this is a positive. The Merchants, Professionals & Retailers group is an advocate for this,” Wilton said.
The site plan has been filed with and will be presented to the Architectural Design Review Board later this month.