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Brooklyn firm picked to help Westbury use $10 million

A man walks in downtown Westbury, Thursday afternoon,

A man walks in downtown Westbury, Thursday afternoon, July 7, 2016. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A Brooklyn planning firm has been selected to help Westbury use $10 million to further revitalize its downtown, officials said Thursday.

BJH Advisors LLC will receive up to $300,000 from Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, to provide consultants to Westbury. The funds were unanimously approved by the agency’s board during a Thursday meeting.

BJH has worked on plans for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector project, Hudson Yards development in Manhattan and expansion of Brooklyn Brewery. Empire State Development hired the firm last year to study options for redeveloping the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village.

BJH is one of five planning firms awarded a total of $3 million to help 10 downtowns across the state as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. One downtown in each of the state’s 10 regions is receiving $10 million to jump-start development projects.

Westbury was selected from a field of 20 Long Island applicants.

“Our ability to thrive relies on our ability to secure key infrastructure, promote entrepreneurship and create more jobs for our residents,” Westbury Mayor Peter I. Cavallaro said when the selection was announced earlier this month. “To me, this means one thing for Westbury: opportunity.”

Over the past decade, Westbury officials have spruced up the village’s downtown, which stretches along Post Avenue from the Northern State Parkway to Old Country Road. There are new storefronts, lampposts and plantings, and about 600 apartments near the Long Island Rail Road station.

The Space at Westbury, a $10 million entertainment complex developed from a former movie theater, has been a linchpin of local efforts.

On Thursday, Empire State Development board member Robert R. Dyson said the matching of professional planners with village officials will insure state money isn’t squandered.

“This is the way it should be done,” he said. “We will see what various cities can do . . . We will see how the local imagination can be stretched.”

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