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Mineola Properties Seeking Agencies Approval

Developers present yet another round of changes to proposed rental dwelling

If this keeps up, Mineola Properties LLC (MP) will have set, reset and then unset the proposed apartment complex at 250 Old Country Road so much, people will begin to think the Winston Manor saga from a few years ago was a three-page short story compared to this tale. In what has spanned three years of meetings, letters and configuration changes, this project may finally get legs but needs to get approvals by local agencies to get going…and the legend continues.

Representatives from MP presented new changes to its 315-unit apartment complex to the Mineola Village Board on Aug. 8. The board reserved its decision on the project with developer Ken Lalezarian looking for approval from the Nassau County Planning Commission (NCPC) and some tax help via the Nassau Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

It is unknown what tax breaks MP could attain from the IDA. The IDA recently approved a 20-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) on the rental complex “The Winston” and its senior housing component “The Churchill.” The project’s estimated value is $95 million.

The last time Lalezarian attained relief from the IDA, he was granted a 30-year PILOT on the Great Neck Plaza.

The Mineola American first reported on July 27 that more changes were coming at the Aug. 8 continuation hearing, revealing that the new MP plan called for a unit decrease to 315 total units, 32 of which are set aside for next generation/first responder housing. Walsh, Markus, McDougal & DeBellis LLP, along with Stephen B. Jacobs Group P.C., have represented Lalezarian from the outset of the project in 2009.

The rental complex would consist of one, two and three-bedroom units. The new proposal indicates 166 one-bedroom apartments, 127 two and 22 three-bedroom apartments would be housed in the new configuration.

Under the new proposal, 472.5 parking spots would be available, roughly 1.5 spaces per unit, according to VHB Traffic Expert John Canning.

The 343,000-square-foot building would stand at 10-stories. However, the building is approximately 5-feet shorter to the top of the penthouse. Along Old Country Road, the building height would be 84-feet-9 inches tall, while on Third Street the building would reach 94-feet-2 inches in height.

On July 15, 2009, the board of trustees at the time said the building did not have enough on-site parking, resulting in spillover into local parking. In May, legal council representative Kevin Walsh cited major architectural and occupancy changes to the project, indicating the building would hold 686 residents, an increase of 198 from its previous proposal in 2009 for a “townhouse-like” development. The board was unsatisfied with those changes and asked for additional adjustments.

“We understood fully where [the board] was coming from,” Walsh said. “We tried to address each and every issue…we think that what we did was look at every comment and have tried to match every component to those comments.”

The village would receive $3.1 million in amenities if the application were approved. That’s a $600,000 increase from the previous proposal that both legal councils negotiated, Lalezarian confirmed. The developers need to pay for the improvements to the streetscape.

“I believe that [the project] will contribute to the vibrancy and economic stability of our downtown and as a transit-oriented development, it qualifies as a smart growth component of our downtown revitalization,” Mayor Scott Strauss said.

However, everyone doesn’t think this project is a home run. Garden City resident Tom Trypuc, president of the Board of Directors of Cherry Valley Apartments, lives in the complex just across the street.

“All you good people in Mineola are talking about what’s good for Mineola, but do any of the people here live right across the street from this potential monstrosity of a building? No,” Trypuc said. “We in Garden City are going to have to endure years of construction and dirt and noise. We get nothing out of this.”

He called the potential traffic problem an “abomination” and that he said an empty building is “very nice for us.”

“When you allowed the Verizon building to be built near 13th Avenue, Garden City never came over to us and asked, ‘what do you think?’ They just built it,” Trustee Paul Cusato said. Trypuc indicated that he wasn’t speaking for the Village of Garden City, but the residents of the apartment complex.