As the Landmark on Main Street reaches its 20th anniversary and celebrates a $5 million renovation, even its residents struggle with what to call it.
"It could be," said Maryanne Joyce, 83, who lives in one of the 59 apartments for seniors in the Landmark.
The Landmark's 2-acre property in Port Washington is also home to a theater, a park and a community center.
The Landmark began its life as the Main Street School, which served all grades and was part of the Port Washington School District. In 1984, after it was announced that the school would close, community leaders worked to save the property. Through a referendum, the land was sold to North Hempstead Town in 1991, which still holds the mortgage but no longer owns the property.
The property is owned by the Landmark on Main Street LLC, which leases the theater portion to The Landmark on Main Street Inc. That nonprofit operates the Jeanne Rimsky Theater, which has featured high-profile entertainment acts and has space for parents, teens and children.
The Landmark is also beginning "a building-wide identity campaign," said Laura Mogul, executive director of Landmark On Main Street Inc. "We think there are probably 100 different answers."
Questions will be asked at the Pride in Port Parade on Sept. 19 as to what the Landmark means to the community. Answers might include: "a fantastic one-bedroom apartment with giant windows;" or a place where "world-class talent" is presented on a stage, Mogul said.
Landmark officials say the upgrades are greatly needed for sections built in 1908 and 1917. It opened as the Landmark center in 1995, and it took several years to propose an adequate plan to replace the historic windows, given the building's status on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Four hundred sixty windows installed in 1908 and 1910 will be replaced for $1.8 million. Most are multipane, nine-over-nine double-hung windows built in the Georgian style.
The new windows are thermally insulated and closely resemble the current ones, which trap heat poorly. The apartment storm windows are cumbersome for tenants to open, said Bob de Bruin, board secretary for the Landmark on Main Street LLC.
Bathtub showers will be replaced with walk-in showers. Some kitchens will be upgraded, and walls will get a fresh coat of paint.
The $5 million in work comes in the wake of an $8.5 million refinancing of the property. Masons are also working to redo the brick facade and repaint the building's trim.
The renovation, begun in July, does not include the theater, which will remain open. No residents will be displaced. Work is expected to finish in June 2016.
"We're living under scaffolding now; it's permanent twilight in the offices," Mogul said. "It's just so exciting to see this building restored to its original beautiful appearance."
Prospective tenants face a two-year waiting list. The current ones are "very happy and anxious to have the renovations that are sorely needed," said resident Mary Barry, 83.