Work Begins on Hempstead’s Long-Awaited Downtown Reboot

By David Winzelberg, LIBN

A host of elected officials joined developers and community leaders Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the first project in the long-awaited revitalization of downtown Hempstead. The ceremony marked the start of demolition of 178 Main St., the former home of the Mack Markowitz Oldsmobile dealership, which will be the site of a new mixed-use project that will bring 96 “workforce” apartments and 5,500 square feet of restaurants and retail shops.

The project is one of four that have received site-plan approval from the Village of Hempstead and headed by the revitalization effort’s master developer Renaissance Downtowns and its partners UrbanAmerica and RXR Realty.

The downtown revitalization initiative is expected to create 12,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent full-time jobs and is expected to generate tens of millions in new annual tax revenue. More than $30 million for public infrastructure improvements have laid the groundwork for the effort to move forward. The goal is to transform Hempstead’s under-performing downtown into a vibrant, mixed-use, walkable neighborhood.

In 2007, UrbanAmerica was rebuffed in its solo attempt at a $2 billion makeover of Hempstead’s downtown, when Mayor Hall couldn’t gather enough votes from the village’s board of trustees. “After nine years of debate, an extensive RFP process, countless public hearings, volumes of legal and engineering reports, complicated zoning revisions, lawsuits, appraisals and contract negotiations, today we are proud to break ground on the future of the Village of Hempstead and its new downtown,” Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall said in a written statement. “This effort will provide much-needed, high-paying construction and permanent jobs to our residents, expand our tax base, enhance public safety and restore pride to the Village of Hempstead. This has been a long journey, and I want to thank my team, the master developer and the people of the village for their ongoing support to reach this milestone.”

The other three projects that have site-plan approval include mixed-use housing featuring workforce, tiered mixed-income and market-rate apartments, as well as thousands of square feet of restaurant, retail, amenity and commercial office space. Donald Monti, founder and CEO of Renaissance Downtowns said the groundbreaking allows his company “to showcase the true value of socially, environmentally and economically responsible development.”

Monti’s development partner, Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR Realty, called Hempstead’s downtown “a key transportation hub with excellent Long Island Rail Road, bus and automobile access” in the center of Nassau County.

“It is the ideal location in which to create a modern, mixed-use destination, combining residential, retail, hospitality, cultural and office space,” Rechler said. “What we are in the process of creating will once again make Hempstead Nassau County’s downtown for the next generation and generations to come.”

 


Published: December 13, 2016
Filed Under: Redevelopment

The RXR platform manages 81 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $15.4 billion as of March 31, 2017, comprising approximately 23.0 million square feet of commercial operating properties and approximately 3,200 multi-family and for sale units under active development in the New York Metropolitan area.