Hempstead board reserves decision on hotel-apartment complex

Hempstead Town Hall at 1 Washington St. in

Hempstead Town Hall at 1 Washington St. in Hempstead. (Nov. 28, 2011) Photo Credit: JC Cherubini

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The Hempstead Town Board reserved decision Tuesday on a plan to build a proposed $60 million, 195-unit apartment-hotel complex at the former Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury.

After a public hearing at which there was no opposition, the town board voted 6-0 to keep the public comment period on the project open for two weeks.

The board is considering an application to change zoning from industrial to cluster residential housing and lift a restrictive covenant, to make way for the development -- The Portofino -- near Zeckendorf Boulevard and Corporate Drive. The project is expected to generate about $2.8 million a year in tax revenue for the town.

"It's nice to see an area growing that wasn't thought much about," said Michael Dubb, principal of the Jericho-based Beechwood Organization, which is spearheading the proposed development near Roosevelt Field mall. "I take a lot of pride in it."

The proposed six-floor apartment hotel would sit on 5 1/2 acres and comprise 68 one- and two-bedroom hotel suites. It would also have 127 long-term rental apartments, of which 71 would be one-bedroom and 56 two-bedrooms.

The Portofino would be accompanied by a 2,000-square-foot, 50-seat restaurant and 3,000-square-foot fitness center, as well as a soccer field dedicated to the town as parkland.

Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby asked about the expected volume of cars from the apartment hotel, citing concerns about potential traffic issues. "Sometimes you can't even move around there," Goosby said at the hearing.

But traffic expert Thomas Mazzola said a maximum of 50 to 60 vehicles would be entering and leaving the development during its peak hours. The property would have excess parking to accommodate all of its uses, he added.

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