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Hempstead approves master developer for downtown Baldwin

Hempstead Town Hall Plaza courtyard in the fall,

Hempstead Town Hall Plaza courtyard in the fall, Nov. 28, 2011. Photo Credit: JC Cherubini

The Hempstead Town Board on Tuesday approved a master developer to create plans for the development of apartments and shops in downtown Baldwin.

Board members unanimously approved Woodmere-based Basser-Kaufman and the Garden City-based Engel Burman Group for the town’s urban renewal plan for Grand Avenue.

Developers will work with the town’s planning and economic development department to acquire vacant downtown properties for a mixed use of apartments, restaurants and shopping.

The developers are the latest to be selected by the town during the past 15 years. Previous efforts to transform downtown Baldwin have stalled.

Engel Burman partner Steven Krieger said he believes this plan for Baldwin is sustainable with a stronger local and national economy.

“We’re hoping with a boost in the economy, this proves to a viable option,” Krieger said. “We understand we need to meet with the community and the town to make sure we find something most of the community is in favor of. This is the first step in the process.”

Although no plans have been drafted, developers hope to transform Baldwin’s Grand Avenue into a walkable mixed-use downtown with shopping and restaurants below apartments.

Developers are targeting a mix of young professionals and families or retirees looking to downsize and move within walking distance of the train station.

The appointment of developers has been endorsed by the Baldwin Civic Association, Chamber of Commerce and Nassau County Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin).

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said he has been seeking to redevelop Baldwin’s downtown for more than a decade and that the town would offer any resources needed to the privately funded project,

He said developers would attempt to acquire properties through private negotiations, but eminent domain remained an option if needed.

“I think we have the right development team in place. The town will work with residents to get this done. Not everyone will be happy with every element of this. Private development and financing is what drives the bus,” Santino said. “We hope at the end of the day, this will make Baldwin a better place to live. Not just today, but for generations to come, and it’s important get it done right.”

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