Developers have paired down a proposed multi-story apartment complex at 250 Old Country Road in Mineola, commonly known as the Keyspan Building.
The proposed new structure was previously designed as a condominium complex with 250 units but was due to the continued poor market.
At a May 23 hearing, the involving concerns height of the building on the Old Country Road side, the sheer “bulk and massiveness” of the building as an almost unbroken edifice, the number of units - 345 proposed - including incorporation of studio apartments, general architectural features and the proposed number of parking spaces.
On June 20 a revised design was submitted to the village that lowered the perimeter building height, reduced the mass of the building facing Old Country Road, being of a more aesthetically pleasing nature, eliminating studio apartments and lowering overall apartment count to 315. However, the design did not comply with village parking regulations per unit of 1.5 spaces per unit. Through talks the developer eventually agreed to increase the per-space count to reach the requirement.
“We looked at every one of the comments, we took them down carefully and we presented the best we could to match every component of it,” said attorney Kevin Walsh, representing Mineola Properties, LLC, applicant Robert Kahen and Kevin Lalezarian of Lake Success-based Lalezarian Developers, which constructs rental residential housing, at the August 8 meeting of the village board. “I think that the conclusion is something that does meet your standards for smart growth in this area.”
Architects have maintained the 343,000 sq. ft. building, adding 20 three-bedroom units, have kept the orientation toward Third Avenue, carved out a portion in the middle of the building for a pool, and set the penthouse units back from the facade of the building.
The apartment breakdown is as follows: 166 one-bedroom at 750 sq. ft., 127 two-bedroom at 1,050 sq. ft. and 22 three-bedroom units.
VHB Engineer Ginny Watral said that there would be sufficient capacity for the village water supply to support both the number of apartments and handle waste water disposal.
The total height of the building is 103 ft., not including the elevator shaft mechanism housings. The total height including elevators are 10-12 ft. above the roof. There are a total of 5 enclosures: 4 for stairwells and one for the elevator. The elevation along Old Country Road was previously 108.5 ft. to the top of penthouse, but has now been scaled back to 88 ft. with 103 ft. including the penthouse and set-backs.
The set-back penthouses also allow for large balconies to be placed at the corners, a portion of which will be common space for all residents to access, though some will be designated to certain units only.
The cell towers currently on top of the building would be removed and any future effort to put an antenna there would have to have an application and hearing before the village board.
The redesigned project will consist of 283 market rental units and 32 next-generation first responder units of quality equal to that of the market rate units, which would be evenly distributed throughout the building.
The original developmental incentive bonus payment for the 270 apartments to the village was $2.5 million, but is being increased to $3.1 million in accordance with the increased number of units. The developer will also offer streetscaping around the perimeter of the building.
In order to get to the required number of 1.5 parking spaces per unit, designers utilized tandem parking, with the spaces initially assigned to the two and three-bedroom units.
“They will effectively function like the apron on a driveway in front of a garage where you park your car in your garage and your wife or your child comes home, they park behind you and then when you need to leave, you’ll have to move their car,” John Canning of VHB Engineering said, noting that because of transit-oriented nature of project and its proximity to the , he expects the second car to be used mush less frequently.
The spaces will be able to handle “all but the biggest of the big SUVs,” Canning said, and there will be two levels of below-grade parking and one level at grade.
There are a total of 470 tandem spaces. If the space is not wanted, it could be assigned to the single bedroom units or set aside for visitor parking. Trustee George Durham asked if the owners would be willing to commit 12 spaces to visitor parking until such time as the building was fully occupied, which was accepted.
Concerns about traffic in the neighboring intersections were raised but Walsh said that “it wouldn’t have enough of an effect to change it, generally speaking, to a worse type of overall analysis.”
Walsh stated that the applicants would be seeing an IDA based on rental income and assessed valuation of the property, but final figures had not yet been worked out at the time of the meeting.
“The IDA’s got to determine what that’s going to be,” Walsh said. “We haven’t done that analysis on those numbers because it would be based on discussion with them.”
There would be no vote by the village board on whether to approve the project until they have a proposed resolution to approve the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) and the IDA will not vote on the project until after the village signs off on the PILOT. The building is currently not on the village’s or school district’s tax rolls so no income is currently being generated from the property. Kevin Lalezarian confirmed that his company had a 30-year IDA agreement for a project in Great Neck Estates.
Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira noted that the host communities benefit agreement would bring the village to within 90 percent of being made whole in terms of income from the property.
Calling the building a “big monstrosity,” Tom Trypuc of the Cherry Valley Apartments on the southern side of Old Country Road in the Village of Garden City said that “we... are going to have to endure years of construction, the dust, the dirt... and of course, we get nothing out of this. I like the empty building that’s there, I don’t want a new empty building.”