Friday, 26 November 2010 00:00
At the October meeting of the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations (aka Greater Council), developer Michael Puntillo, Jr. of Jobco Realty and Construction presented a new preliminary proposal for the Christ Church Parish House and property. Plans have not yet been submitted to the Town of North Hempstead. The Greater Council commended Mr. Puntillo for proactively approaching the community with his plans prior to formalizing and submitting them to the town.
An earlier proposal for this property was to demolish the Parish House building and erect a high-end, age restricted condominium structure which was largely opposed by residents. In contrast to previous plans, the current proposal includes restoring the 20,000 square foot Gothic style building and retaining usage by some not-for-profits. The plans require subdividing the land and rezoning changes. The western side of the building (roughly 5,000 sq. ft. including the gym/auditorium) and property would be retained by the church for not-for-profit/church use, and the remaining portion of the building (roughly 15,000 sq. ft.) and land becoming property of the developer to be renovated for commercial office space rentals. The developer’s research indicates a sustainable plan in the current market with proposed offices not intended as ‘high end’ office space, but rather for modest office space for smaller professional firms or practitioners. Additionally, the blue house at the south property (along Northern Boulevard, currently housing the Parish Thrift Shop), would be razed and a commercial building constructed fronting Northern Boulevard, perhaps a bank. The developer would continue to own the land with the plan being to lease the commercial space with the income from the commercial property funding the loan needed for the Parish House restoration.
The initial Greater Council reaction was that this proposal was a vast improvement over prior proposals since it is the only plan thus far which retains/restores the Parish House, but reserved any formal action until the plans are circulated and discussed with area residents. While some residents do prefer to keep the property entirely for some not-for-profit use, there has been no viable plan thus far to make that possible. Concerns continue on the current, deteriorating condition of the Parish House and its uncertain future without timely action. The council voiced design concerns for the proposed new building (perhaps a bank), encouraging the new building to keep the surrounding Gothic architecture, and thus proposed requiring a site plan review by the town encompassing the new building design.
Another inquiry concerned the buffer area around the property shielding adjacent properties, which seemed to have been considered in the plan. Although civic leaders recognize any change will have some impact from the current use/ condition, the current plan has far less impact to its neighboring properties than any previous plan, and preserves a longstanding gem in our community. As Jobco continues formalizing its plan, Mr. Puntillo agreed to keep in good communication with the Greater Council, which will keep member civic association leaders informed.
Residents with feedback/comments are urged to contact their area’s civic association.
(Circulated by officers of the Manhasset Park Civic Association.)