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Developers aim to revitalize LI downtowns

Scott Rechler, center, and Donald Monti, right, have

Scott Rechler, center, and Donald Monti, right, have joined forces to start on Huntington Station and Hempstead Village. Here they review a Glen Cove project with Michael Posillico in 2007. (Oct. 15, 2007) Credit: Newsday / Alan Raia

Well-known Uniondale-based developer Scott Rechler, who heads RXR Realty, is teaming up with Renaissance Downtowns, a Plainview developer, to revitalize Huntington Station and Hempstead Village and, in the future, other downtowns across Long Island.

Rechler and developer Donald Monti, who heads Renaissance Downtowns, said they plan a 50-50 partnership on those projects, which Monti has been planning and designing but which have not yet been built.

The partnership, to be officially announced Monday, pairs Rechler's significant experience and financial wherewithal with Monti's vision for improved Long Island downtowns, and may speed up some projects Monti has already begun, observers said.

RXR is "a really substantial company . . . willing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into our communities," said Kevin Law, head of the Long Island Association, the region's largest business group. "To have someone like Scott and RXR involved, the likelihood for success increases exponentially."

Monti and Rechler are already working together on a project called Garvies Point to redevelop Glen Cove's waterfront, where Monti began work in 2003. Rechler last year became lead developer there and has helped to get its approvals.

Renaissance spokesman Brandon Palanker said the new venture, to be called RDRXR, expects to be involved in $15 billion in potential new construction on Long Island, since Renaissance has three downtown projects planned, each worth between $1 billion and $2 billion, and hopes to build seven more in the future.

Rechler said his company can help Renaissance bring its plans to fruition.

"We may bring a little steak to the sizzle," Rechler said. "What we hope is that we'll take these things from the more abstract and make them concrete."

The deal with Rechler could also help Monti's efforts as master developer of the 77-acre site surrounding Nassau Coliseum, Palanker said. While the deal between Rechler and Monti doesn't include the Nassau Hub directly, Rechler is separately a partner with Madison Square Garden in its bid to renovate the Coliseum itself. What's more, revitalizing Hempstead Village could encourage companies to come to the nearby Hub, Palanker said.

Rechler said he expects that with his company's involvement, the first phase of the $2-billion effort to revitalize Hempstead Village will be under construction within the next 12 months.

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