Developers Make New Strides In Glen Cove Plan
Newsday – May 4, 2011: The team behind Glen Cove’s billion-dollar waterfront redevelopment has sliced the height of many of its proposed buildings, addressing a lingering community concern about a project nearly two decades in the making.
RXR-Glen Isle Partners presented a revised conceptual site plan to the city planning board Tuesday, the first step in an approval process that could be completed this fall. City officials said the project’s first phase — likely rental and affordable housing — could start as early as next spring.
“A key thing for us all along was to ensure that the character of the project mirrored the character of historical Glen Cove,” Scott Rechler, one of the developers, said Wednesday. “So height has always been a concern for the mayor and the broader community.”
Little else has changed since RXR-Glen Isle Partners’ last waterfront site plan in 2008. It still envisions 2.2-million square feet of development on 56 acres of old industrial sites along Glen Cove Creek, with 860 residential units, 75,000 square feet of office and retail, and 19 acres of open space.
But visually, the project is less imposing. At the city’s urging, buildings once drawn 16 stories high — and reduced to mostly 10 and 12 floors in 2008 — are now mainly four stories.
“It’s a dramatic change,” said Mayor Ralph Suozzi.
The 2008 plan included three 12-story and three 10-floor residential towers. The new proposal calls for two 12-story towers on either end and one at 10 stories. Buildings located between the end towers, previously six, eight and 10 stories, are now set at four, with parking moved underground. One additional housing structure was added, but because it replaces a circular driveway, open space wasn’t affected. The developers also changed the shorter buildings’ construction to wood-frame from steel.
The new site plan includes the flexibility to a return to 2008 building heights if economic conditions warrant.
Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, a leading civic critic during the last presentation, still worries about high-density waterfront development. Director Carol DiPaolo said Wednesday the coalition wouldn’t comment on the new plan until after a review. As visualized, the privately funded redevelopment would incorporate the new city ferry terminal, still under construction, and be linked to downtown Glen Cove. Completion could take up to a decade.
Kelly Morris, director of Glen Cove’s Community and Industrial Development agencies, which owns the land, said two years of research led to the revisions. RXR-Glen Isle must finish revising the project’s draft environmental impact statement, presented at a public hearing in June 2009, before it can be approved and a special-use permit issued. Officials said they hope that happens by fall.
WHAT REMAINS FROM THE PREVIOUS PROPOSAL: -860 residential units with 10% designated as affordable housing -250-suite hotel and 25,000 square feet of retail/restaurants -50,000 square feet of commercial office space -9 acres of public amenities and open space
WHAT HAS CHANGED: -Heights of most buildings have been reduced