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New Winthrop Research Building Given Green-Light

Mineola village board unanimously approves plan for new diabetes research facility.

Downtown Mineola will be getting a new addition within the next few years after the unanimously approved a plan by to build a on Mineola Boulevard.

The site, located on the northwest corner of Mineola Boulevard and Second Street at 101-109 Mineola Boulevard, currently houses the Winthrop community outreach center, former poison control center and former site of the La Cisterna restaurant.

The center, which would be , would rise approximately 78 feet in height, with an additional 10.6 ft. of structure for utility circulation towers. Winthrop is planning to break ground on the center sometime in spring 2012.

In addition to diabetes, the center would run studies on cardiopulmonary disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, neurological disease and conduct clinical trials on childhood obesity and diabetes. Other activities would include lab and clinical research and monitoring drug interactions. No infectious disease research would be done at the site. Much of the drug testing would be done on mice and rats specifically raised for research. No primates or other animals would be involved. The center’s operating hours would be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

“I think this will be to that area,” said at the board’s September 21 meeting. “It will hopefully put an influx of workers, not only in the construction phase but after it’s occupied.”

There would be about 45 employees following the construction but already have many of the people on campus today and the proximity of the railroad and addition to the parking garage on Fifth Avenue would lessen or negate any impact.

The hospital is seeing a variance as to the location of parking for the facility as “there are enough parking spaces provided but the place they are provided is not within 300 ft. of the premises,” village attorney John Spellman said.

Winthrop intends to move parking for employees from 222 Front St. to the renovated Fifth Avenue garage using a card coded parking system. Approximately 60 spaces are currently located at the community center building and about 140 at 222 Front St. for patients to utilize. The hospital will direct employees to park in the satellite lot on Old Country Road between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. Winthrop also has an agreement in place with Sears to use the garage behind their Franklin Avenue location for overflow where jitneys can run on when large symposiums are held on the Winthrop campus.

The 24-month construction phase would cause the temporary loss of 12 metered parking spaces along Second Street and the sidewalk would have to be covered with a pedestrian walkway around Second Street and Mineola Boulevard for safety reasons. The sidewalks will remain open however. Construction would be staged on the site itself, with crews beginning on the rear of the building demolishing the building from the rear.

Lane closures on Mineola Boulevard would occur when crews connect the sewer and utility lines, which are being buried as a beautification concession at the cost of $1.6 million to the hospital. Power lines would be buried along the west side Mineola Boulevard from the Southwest corner of First Street to Northwest corner of Second Street and from the Northwest corner of Second Street to Southwest corner of Second Street and Station Road, continuing West down the south side of Second Street.

The hospital is also offering $1 million in funds for amenities and other items such as sidewalk pavers, trees and benches as part of beautification efforts. The $1 million would be paid to the village in four installments of $250,000, the first made upon issuance of the construction permit, then three, six and nine months thereafter.

“With the other projects coming through, with the increased pedestrian foot traffic into the restaurants and the areas, I think the downtown area is going to be a nice commonplace in the future,” Trustee George Durham said.

The property is currently on the village tax roll and will continue to be once construction is finished. Winthrop will continue to pay tax on the property through a yearly payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement. Based on preliminary evaluation, the property would have at least a 50 percent increase in taxes after the new building is built, or about $500,000.

“If they decided not to pay that, we’re talking about double-digit (tax) increases for the rest of us,” deputy mayor Paul Pereira said.

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