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$60 Million Winthrop Research Facility Approved

Stipulations, conditions outlined in application approval

The section of Mineola Boulevard near the LIRR train station has been called the “gateway” to the village of Mineola and cited as one of the key areas for development in the village’s Master Plan. The plan just became a bit clearer.

The board of trustees approved the application of Winthrop University Hospital to construct a four-story, .893-acre research facility at the corner of Mineola Boulevard and Second Street on Sept. 21. Village attorney John Spellman detailed the decision and stipulations regarding approval last week.

Winthrop will contribute $1 million to the village to make provisions for or improvements to public amenities. Approximately $250,000 will be awarded to Mineola upon issuance of construction permits and three additional payments of $250,000 will be awarded three months, six months and nine months after issuance of permits.

Spellman stated that the conditions are transferable, meaning that Winthrop and its successors would be held to the same requirements. Furthermore, one of the main stipulations is that there will not be testing pathogens of infectious diseases on site and will not utilize primates research.

Another main amenity that has sparked countless debate is overhead electrical communications and related wire service on the west side of Mineola Boulevard and from the southwest corner of First Street, to the northwest corner of Second Street to the southwest corner of Second Street and Station Road. Winthrop willv be required to “eliminate” that aspect, which would most likely be laying wire underground.

“It would provide an aesthetically pleasing structure with enhanced landscaping,” Spellman said. The granting of the application requesting a special permit for development incentive bonus, according to which the applicant offer certain community benefits and amenities, payment in lieu there of in exchange of the board of trustees granting a relief from certain zoning code regulations shall advance the villages specific physical, cultural and social policies in accordance with the villages comprehensive plan.”

Winthrop will install streetscape improvements along the south, west and east side of the subject property including but not limited to sidewalk pavers, trees and benches to match the villages downtown. The hospital will pay village real estate taxes on all properties owned by them and its affiliates that are outside the hospital zone.

The facility will house research development into obesity and diabetes as well as cardiovascular pulmonary related issues, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) disease, neurological diseases among others. Winthrop expects to break ground in the spring of 2012.

The building would total 95,000 square feet. Approximately 80,000 square feet has been allocated with 15,000 square feet yet to be determined. The hospital wants to consolidate the existing research laboratories on the property, specifically on the fifth and sixth floor located at 222 Station Plaza North.

The facility will be built where the current hospital’s outreach center stands. Also on the site is a former poison control center and additional offices associated with the hospital as well as the former La Cisterna restaurant.

“I think this is going to be a great boost to that area,” Mayor Scott Strauss said. “It will hopefully put an influx of workers in the construction phase and after its occupied and create some much needed foot traffic. It looks like a beautiful building.”

The outreach center will be absorbed into this current facility, where programs could be held. Hospital representatives estimated a construction completion two years after breaking ground.

Hospital officials said the primary focus of the facility would be concentrated on obesity and diabetes, two major issues in the state and the nation. Winthrop had recently been nationally recognized in its research in adult and pediatric diabetes.

Hospital representatives revealed that the hospital and construction teams would coordinate with local fire departments so that hospital roads are not blocked to incoming ambulances. The building shouldn’t exceed 78-feet in height.

Approximately 18 buildings in the area exceed this height with 15 located in Mineola and three in Garden City. This total includes the proposed Winston Manor residential complex on Old Country Road between Main Street and Willis Avenue.

This project sits within the Willis Avenue corridor. This area was subject to much discussion in implementing the village’s Master Plan.