The controversial Winston project is one step closer to completion following the latest in a series of hearings, which have been held over the past two years, and has become a point of contention between the villages of Mineola and Garden City.
Originally conceived as a condominium complex, the project has been reshaped and reformed over the past two years as a series of apartment rentals by Garden City-based developer Polimeni International. Wednesday night's hearing at the Mineola Village Hall was originally scheduled for July 14, but Polimeni was granted an extension due to the conversion.
"The option before this board tonight is not one between condominiums and rental, it's one between what is there currently and rentals," Mayor Jack Martins said.
The Winston project fits into the village's master plan envisioned by the board, which views Mineola as a "more desirable, safe and attractive place which to live, work and raise a family." The location on the Northwest corner of Old Country Road and Willis Avenue is desirable because it is located in a downtown area near the Mineola train station and provides residential units near commercial space.
Polimeni initially desired to build the residential condominium complex in 2008, as well as a senior housing component, but would have required a subdivision approval from neighboring Garden City.
"One fact was abundantly clear, this project had to change it had to adapt in order to survive and adapt it has," chairman and CEO Michael Polimeni said.
Polimeni secured the final subdivision approval from Mineola in 2009, as well as approval of the preliminary subdivision map from the Nassau County Planning Commission.
A series of hearings between Mineola and Garden City on the project's capacity, density and environmental aspects ended in disagreement and contributed to the decision to convert the condominiums into rental apartments, which requires no subdivision approval from Garden City.
Another concession by the developer after numerous objections from Garden City lowered the building from the initial nine stories proposed to six.
"I'm a bit disappointed that it came to this but my vote… has never been swayed by how I feel personally," deputy mayor Lawrence Werther said. "It's what's right for this village, what will bring this village forward into the future, and I agree with the Mayor, this is a project that needs to be done here."
According to real estate consultant Maria Rigopolous, several changes were made because of the conversion, including the addition of a pool and only one level of underground parking, with another level above ground.
There will be a total of 275 apartments, consisting of 165 one-bedroom and 110 two-bedroom apartments and ranging from $2,100 to $2,800 a month.
"In my heart I have no doubt that this is a good project, Werther said. "Although, I would have loved to have seen a condominium over here, I would have loved to have seen the original configuration and, quite frankly, to tweak Garden City, I would have loved to have seen the nine story project."
No representative from Garden City was present at Wednesday's meeting.