Nassau seeks state money to build Hub parking garages

Nassau County has issued a request for qualifications

Nassau County has issued a request for qualifications for coordinating the construction of a new or renovated arena along with housing and retail at the central Nassau Hub. (May 11, 2011) (Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)

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Nassau County is seeking state money for the construction of parking garages at the Hub as part of a plan to replace acres of asphalt with technology companies.

The county wants several "multitiered parking facilities" built on land surrounding Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, government officials and business executives confirmed yesterday. The garages would hold 6,500 vehicles and cost more than $150 million to construct.

"Our goal is to create more private-sector jobs and bring new businesses to the property by freeing up land that would otherwise be used for surface parking," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said.


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His appeal for $10 million from Albany is part of a larger plan to transform the 77-acre tract in the middle of the county into a modern entertainment and business destination.

The garages would liberate about 50 acres for a research and development park designed for companies involved in robotics, health care and technology in a proposal from Plainview developer Renaissance Downtowns. As many as 10,000 people could eventually work there.

Funding for the parking garages must be secured because Nassau officials have said the county will not pick up the tab. Details about who would build the structures, their height and how many would be constructed have yet to be determined.

Hempstead Town must approve the plan. A 2011 town zoning change permits parking garages at the Hub, spokesman Michael Deery said yesterday.

Forest City Ratner Cos., the developer Mangano tapped on Aug. 15 to revamp the aging Coliseum, welcomed the parking garage proposal. "All investment at the Hub is a step in the right direction," spokeswoman Ashley Cotton said.

Forest City, which built Brooklyn's Barclays Center arena, did not propose garages in its $229-million Coliseum remake.

Replacing acres of parking lots with garages is crucial to the success of the technology park proposed by Renaissance Downtowns, the master developer for the Hub's non-entertainment areas.

"Structured parking frees up 50 acres for economic development that will foster $30 billion of economic activity over 30 years," said Renaissance CEO Donald Monti, who advised Nassau on the parking garage plan. "The land would be used for R&D [research and development], high-tech."

He and others said the garages would be economically viable because they will be used not only by Coliseum patrons but also by employees and customers of nearby businesses.

"The trick with garages is how do you pay for them?" Monti said. "The funding opportunities are many, but this will not be a burden to county taxpayers."

Mangano submitted the request for state funding to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, which was appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to review building projects and make aid recommendations.

Mangano is seeking $10 million out of as much as $25 million in grant money that could come to Long Island in a competition among the state's 10 regions.

The 3-year-old council has endorsed Hub redevelopment as a regional priority, but Mangano's 2011 request for $75 million failed to win approval. At that time, council members said Mangano had asked for too much money.

A second request won the council's endorsement last year, and resulted in $500,000 for infrastructure work.

A spokesman for Empire State Development, New York's primary business-aid agency, said Monday the local council must have its funding recommendations to Albany by Sept. 24. Council leaders either declined to comment or couldn't be reached.

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