Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 18 June 2010 00:00
It’s been the talk at school board meetings, in supermarkets and at bus stops. You may have heard about it in the News and Views newsletter of the WHCSA (West Hempstead Community Support Association) or seen fliers pressing its immediate demolishment.
The eyesore that is the Courtesy Hotel has plagued West Hempstead residents with crime and arrests for years and the village is all but fed up with it. Trammell Crow Residential (TCR) heard their calls for change. TCR plans to build a 150-unit apartment complex on the 2.7 acres on which the Courtesy Hotel currently resides.
It will be located next to the West Hempstead Train Station, which adds to the wanted change. According to Trammel’s website, it will feature one, two and three-bedroom floor plans, on-site leasing, management, and maintenance, clubhouse lounges with fireplaces and flat screen HDTV’s.
The building’s design will consist of a combination of masonry and siding facades, decorative panels and railings, large windows, balconies and gabled asphalt shingle roofs. The sidewalks encompassing the area will receive new lighting and landscaping.
The complex will also feature 4,000 square feet of amenity and administrative space. The Alexan will include a cyber-cafe and catering kitchen as well as a fitness center and resort-style swimming pool with a sundeck. The complex will have controlled-access parking as well as a grilling area for barbecues. It will feature 24-hour emergency maintenance, decorative fountains and landscaped courtyards.
In terms of the floor-plan amenities for individual dwellings, they will include but are not limited to full-size washers and dryers, walk-in closets, nine-foot ceilings, wall-to-wall carpeting and individual central heating and air-conditioning.
According to Trammel Crow Vice President Maria Rigopoulous, the building permit application has been submitted to the Town of Hempstead to review the construction plans for the Alexan@West Hempstead Station. In addition to the Town, the plans are going to be reviewed by the MTA and environmental agencies and approvals are expected soon.
“We’re still planning on breaking ground this summer, but I don’t have an exact date because we’re coordinating building permits and closing documents but we’re moving forward,” Rigopoulous said.
Could this project mean more train-times for the sporadic schedule that the West Hempstead line follows? Possibly. It’s more likely than not that the mostly-desolate station will be active once the Alexan is built.
WHCSA President Rosalie Norton said it would be holding a celebration rally upon the demolition of the Courtesy Hotel and the Alexan’s groundbreaking ceremony.
Rigopoulous iterated that she is not anticipating any roadblocks in terms of starting construction. She stated that all sides are taking the steps in getting this process finalized.
“The Town is reviewing everything,” she said. “There are really no more discretionary approvals. We’re in good shape.”
An unnamed broker contacted Trammel Crow Residential in 2006 with the concerns of West Hempstead residents to figure out how to handle the issues concerning the hotel. According to Rigopoulous, the property being a stones-throw from a train station will undoubtedly inject life into that stretch of road on Hempstead Avenue.
Trammel Crow put its initial plan into the Town of Hempstead at the end of 2006. It got rezoning approval at the end of 2008.
Trammel Crow then met with the owner of the property and stated what they wanted to do, which led to putting the site under contract and beginning the approval process. Because Trammel Crow is building residential apartments and not, for example, condominiums, it doesn’t need subdivision approval from the neighboring municipality.
“When I saw it was near a train station, it would be wrong not to do it,” she said. “This is the perfect site for a new multi-family [complex]. This is great for the community of West Hempstead. It just made sense.”
Rosalie Norton said that she is excited for the change that is to come to the corner of Westminster Road and Hempstead Avenue. She feels that TCR has an excellent reputation and will succeed in developing that particular piece of West Hempstead.
“I know from what I’ve been told, the demolition permits have been approved by the Town of Hempstead and that was perhaps one of the key things they had to have before they can go and apply to their lenders to continue to complete the sale of the building,” said Norton. “Right now it’s just a contractor purchase and once they have demolition and construction permits in hand, it enables them to go on and close on the Courtesy [Hotel] and to buy it.”
Norton stated that her overall impressions of the project are positive and that, “it’s something that is a positive thing for our community and certainly do a whole lot to improve the area and I’m in support of it.”