Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, along with Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and the Hempstead Town Board, adopted a contract to redevelop part of Downtown Baldwin as the centerpiece of the township’s Urban Renewal Plan for the hamlet’s business district. The contract will set the stage for a major transformative development project that will redefine the west side of Grand Avenue immediately north of Merrick Road and the north side of Merrick Road to the west of Grand Avenue.
"I am pleased that the Hempstead Town Board has taken a very positive step to bring about sustainable and forward-looking development in downtown Baldwin,” said Santino. “A transformative development project in the heart of the business district can spur economic activity, create a unique community destination and revitalize this hamlet’s downtown.”
The development contract sets forth an agenda and timetable for an urban renewal project that will be spearheaded by the highly regarded development group, Engel Burman-Basser Kaufman (EB-BK) and Hempstead Town officials. The developer has indicated that its vision for the site includes mixed-use development featuring residential homes atop retail and restaurant businesses.
“Supervisor Santino, the Town Board and I are committed to building a more prosperous futute for downtown Baldwin,” said Goosby. “This project will deliver on the promise of a dynamic and exciting downtown.”
Among some of the key points and timeframe elements in the project’s agenda are appraisal work, environmental analysis, property acquisition, rezoning of parcels, possible transfer of government properties to the developer and economic incentives. During the 90 days that immediately succeeds the contract approval, Hempstead Town will complete all appraisals of properties in the urban renewal zone that are being considered for redevelopment. The town will also pursue property transfer/use approvals from local governments whose properties would/could be impacted by the project. The town’s municipal parking field is within the urban renewal zone, as is a Nassau County storm drainage culvert. A small parcel of fire district property may also be impacted. Further, Hempstead Town will be taking a proactive role in creating a building development zone if the development contract is adopted.
At the same time, EB-BK will be working with architects and design professionals on conceptual plans. Additionally, the developer will be pursuing the “arms-length” acquisition of properties within the project area through private sale.
Further elements of the project could include the acquisition of parcels through eminent domain if private sales agreements cannot be reached. EB-BK will also seek financial/economic benefits through the local Industrial Development Agency (IDA). The Hempstead Town Board will have no role in the negotiation of any IDA benefits package secured by the developer.
Previous Urban Renewal Projects that have been the subject of Town Board action failed to reach fruition due to a weakened capital finance market, a sagging economy and contractions in retail growth sectors, among other factors. The Supervisor has expressed confidence that a rebounding real estate and business economy, along with greater activity in the capital finance community, will help make this redevelopment project succeed.
“This contract is the result of a progressive partnership between town government and private sector developers to ensure visionary growth in downtown Baldwin,” concluded Santino. “I am eager for this project to move forward, and I want to be able to put a shovel in the ground to start construction.”