Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 16 July 2010 00:00
A public hearing regarding the construction of a nine-story residential complex on Old Country Road in Mineola, dubbed the “Winston,” was scheduled for July 14 at Village Hall in front of the Board of Trustees of Mineola. Polimeni International LLC. was granted an extension to better prepare themselves due to the ongoing issues with new construction plans and various changes that have been made to the project. The hearing will now take place on Sept. 15.
Polimeni has opted to build the complex as rental apartments, which would not require subdivision approval from Garden City. The project has seen major renovations in terms of planning, according to Village Attorney John Spellman, and the contracting giant will come before the board two months from now.
In June, Polimeni came before the board to ask for a one-month adjourment to make the necessary changes in order to transition from condominiums to rentals. Spellman said the group is retooling floor plans and construction issues and that it turned out to be a more complicated change than expected.
Mayor Jack M. Martins and the board agreed that it would be better for all parties involved if the contractor were well-prepared when it comes to the public hearing. “All parties, including the village [of Mineola] will have time to gather as much information as possible and get this thing started,” he said.
Vincent Polimeni told the Mineola American that he expects to have plans to the board before the September meeting. He also stated that he wants all parties on board with the changes.
“Redoing this as a rental is going to be more involved than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “I want to make sure it’s right. Everyone involved has to be happy with the end result.”
Polimeni will be resizing the dwellings to better fit as rental apartments. According to Polimeni, rentals and condominiums are vastly different.
“The two are different in all aspects,” he said. “Some people don’t want three bedrooms. Most of them don’t want two bedrooms since they’re rentals. So we’re doing some changes. The cost of doing condos is much higher than doing a rental.”
Polimeni stated that all the architectural aspects of the project would remain the same. However, the underground parking will be “above grade.”
“You won’t know it’s there,” he said. “Before we were going to do three levels of underground parking below the building. Now, we’re doing one level of underground parking and two levels above grade, but you won’t know it’s parking. It will look like the building. From outside you’ll never know it.”
He stated that the cost is much less to handle it this way. In terms of the amenities that were included in the first proposal, nothing has been changed. In fact, Polimeni will be adding amenities on to the existing proposal.
“We’re going to include a pool now,” he said. “People like that. There’s going to be a theater room, meeting rooms and much more.”
Representatives from Polimeni came before the board of trustees in June to request that it amend the special use permit of the function of the future residential complex from condominiums to rental apartments. This prompted the board to conduct a public hearing at a later date. Due to the changes that are needed, Polimeni needed more time.
On July 2, 2008, the village board granted the Polimeni group the permit for the premises located at the corner of Willis Avenue and Old Country Road in Mineola to be developed into a residential complex. Originally, Polimeni wanted the Winston project to function as owned condominiums.
However, in order to build a condominium on that particular plot of land, it would need subdivision approval from a neighboring municipality, which is Garden City.
Polimeni obtained final subdivision approval on Jan. 26, 2009 from Mineola and preliminary subdivision map approval from the Nassau County Planning Commission on Oct. 15, 2009. There were a number of hearings held in 2009, which both representatives from Polimeni and the Village of Garden City attended. These meetings were in regard to the scope of the project in terms of size, density, capacity and the environmental aspect of the development.
Mr. Polimeni said he has no idea why Garden City has delayed the project, since their subdivision jurisdiction is limited at best. Polimeni has not spoken to representatives of Garden City since last month.
“The fact that they wanted me to start this thing all over again and start from zero and after spending the money to do the studies, get the approvals and do it all right, I don’t know where they’re coming from. I’m glad Mineola has taken to this project in that it breathes life into its downtown and helps everyone.”
Well, not everyone. Mayor Martins received a letter last week from Garden City Park resident Fred Rogel, stating his opposing stance of the project. According to the letter, he feels the “peace and quiet” of the nightlife of downtown Mineola will be hindered. “There’s no downtown,” the letter stated. “If anything, it is a Mineola village center and it is thriving. It is not a slum and is not in need of revitalization. Detroit and Newark need that.”
The letter went on to say that to say that downtown Mineola is a ghost town on nights and weekends is, “propaganda. As a commercial office area, peace and quiet during the nights is what we expect. The facts suggest that Mineola has a restless and ambitious mayor. As the tool and ally of a real estate developer, you are working to change the character of Mineola.”