It Just Got Real

By David Winzelberg,

When it comes to real estate, 2016 marked a year of progress on Long Island, as development projects both large and small were advanced.

The year saw the long-awaited start of some major efforts, including groundbreakings on the $1 billion Garvies Point mixed-use redevelopment in Glen Cove, the $2.5 billion revitalization of downtown Hempstead and the opening of the first phase of the $400 million mixed-use project called The Boulevard on 322 acres in Yaphank.

Among other notable steps ahead in 2016 was Riverhead’s sale of 633 acres at the Enterprise Park in Calverton that’s earmarked for a massive industrial park; Islip’s planning board recommendation to approve the first phase of the $4 billion transformative mixed-use plan for Heartland Town Square in Brentwood; and Huntington’s transfer of a property for the first project in Renaissance Downtowns’ reboot of Huntington Station.

Hiring for the new Nassau Coliseum began this year and Suffolk County Off-Track Betting began work on Long Island’s first slots parlor.

A slew of smaller, yet no less significant development projects in places like Farmingdale, Port Jefferson, North Amityville and Mineola helped add more than 1,000 new rental apartments to the area.

In commercial real estate, a tightening industrial market boosted rents and sale prices, while institutional owners continued to shed suburban office properties.

On the residential side, Long Island real estate brokers enjoyed a busy 2016, as sales eclipsed the previous year and home prices continued to make gains. First-time homebuyers returned to the market with a vengeance, as dwindling inventory and the threat of rising mortgage rates spurred sales, especially in the fourth quarter.

Groundbreaking for $1B Glen Cove project
The developers of the $1 billion Garvies Point mixed-use project in Glen Cove held a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month at the Glen Cove Ferry Terminal.

The Garvies Point redevelopment will eventually bring 555 rental apartments, 555 for-sale condos, about 75,000 square feet of retail and office space and 28 acres of waterfront esplanades and parks to the site formerly occupied by heavy industry and junkyards.

Construction began on the project’s first phase, which includes six buildings of four, five and six stories on the eastern portion of the property that will contain the rental apartments and about 25,000 square feet of retail.

More than 13 years after the project was first pitched, development partners Uniondale-based RXR Realty and Farmingdale-based Posillico along with City of Glen Cove opened the complex’s welcoming center in May.

It’s been a long haul. The city signed a land development agreement with the project’s original developers in 2003 and initial approvals were granted in 2008, but the start of construction was delayed by the massive cleanup needed to remediate the once-toxic property, changes in the development team and poor market conditions.

Two lawsuits aimed at preventing the start of the project were dismissed in August, paving the way for the groundbreaking.

Manhattan-based Pizzarotti-IBC is the project’s construction manager and Joseph Roussine, a Glen Cove resident and the company’s vice president of construction, will oversee building at the 56-acre redevelopment on Glen Cove Creek

Work begins on Hempstead’s long-awaited downtown reboot
A host of elected officials joined developers and community leaders this month 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 $2.5 billion 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.

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.

Published: January 4, 2017
Filed Under: Redevelopment

The RXR platform manages 72 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $17.7 billion, comprising approximately 23.1 million square feet of commercial operating properties and approximately 6,300 multi-family and for sale units in various stages of development in the New York Metropolitan area. Gross asset value compiled by RXR Realty in accordance with company fair value measurement policy and is comprised of capital invested by RXR and its partners, as well as leverage.