Lowe's gives up fight for East Hills site

Steel Equities, a Bethpage real estate investment firm, Steel Equities, a Bethpage real estate investment firm, is buying the former Pall Corp. site on Northern Boulevard and could build a medical or general office park, a lawyer for the company said. (Feb. 24, 2011) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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A Bethpage real estate investment company has signed a contract to buy the former Pall Corp. site in East Hills after home retailer Lowe's Inc. failed to overcome community opposition to a planned store.

Steel Equities agreed last month to a deal with Lowe's, the nation's No. 2 home-improvement retailer, which paid Pall, a maker of filtration products, $40 million in 2008 for the land.

The contract price was not disclosed, but officials on the deal said the buyer paid less than Lowe's did for the 18 acres on Northern Boulevard.

"They felt it was a nice-sized building, and it was a good location," said Uniondale attorney Peter Mineo, who represents Steel Equities. "They could create a nice, medical and general office park there. There aren't a lot of office buildings in that immediate area."

Steel Equities has several properties and big tenants in the metropolitan area, such as Cablevision, Newsday's owner.

It plans to gut the interior and reface the exterior of the 280,000-square-foot building.

The site's fate was in limbo after residents raised the specter of huge delivery trucks adding to traffic and Mayor Michael Koblenz refused to back rezoning from light industrial to commercial.

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A year after buying the property, Lowe's put it up for sale.

"From time to time, we re-evaluate plans and have decided not to move forward with store development in East Hills Village," Lowe's spokeswoman Stacey C. Lentz said Thursday.

Koblenz said he welcomes offices and the buyer's pledge to repave an adjoining road, saving the village $600,000. He said Steel Equities' plan would require a new zoning category, perhaps "business park zone."

"It's a big coup for the village and even surrounding villages," he said. "We worked very hard . . . to keep traffic congestion and pollution out of the neighborhood."

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