Plans to redevelop the former 95-year-old Tower Ford structure into apartments has...

Plans to redevelop the former 95-year-old Tower Ford structure into apartments has faced opposition from Thomaston residents. Credit: Reece T. Williams

The New York State Historic Preservation Office said the site of a proposed 75-unit apartment complex in Thomaston that residents want preserved instead of redeveloped meets the criteria for landmarking.

The plan to demolish the 95-year-old Tower Ford structure, site of a former car dealership, to construct a five-story building at the corner of South Middle Neck and Brompton roads has faced strong opposition from residents, whose pushback has led village officials to twice delay public hearings.

A new hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15.

"The people in Thomaston want this building preserved," said Nancy Sherman, a village resident who is spearheading a movement to preserve the structure. "It would be a travesty to demolish this building and put up an ugly glass structure that does not belong in this town."

The State Historic Preservation Office released its opinion Monday that the "house meets the criteria" for listing to both the National and State Register of Historic Places.The building cannot be placed on the register without the owner’s consent, according to a letter sent by the preservation office. The owner, 124 Middle Neck Realty LLC, purchased the building in 2017.

Stephen Limmer, a Garden City-based lawyer with McLaughlin & Stern LLP who represents the applicant, said Monday that he couldn’t comment on the preservation office’s opinion. He said his client is working on revising the original plans but is waiting to hear back from the village’s Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding a request to landmark the building.

"They know the concerns of the neighbors with regard to height and parking, but it’s hard to do definitive plans unless they know what the Landmarks Preservation Commission is going to do," Limmer said.

Thomaston residents opposed to the proposal to convert the Tower...

Thomaston residents opposed to the proposal to convert the Tower Ford into apartments gathered recently to protest the redevelopment plan. Credit: Reece T. Williams

Limmer submitted a letter asking Thomaston officials to delay the Nov. 15 hearing until the village hears back from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

"My client wants to work with the residents and the village and build something that’s economically feasible that will fit in with the community," Limmer said.

Aaron Egelman, board president of the co-op building on 37 Brompton Rd., is among the residents who have expressed concerns about the development’s impact on parking, traffic and property values.

"This is not a wealthy building, it’s a middle-class building. What they’re proposing to build next to us is a luxury rental," said Egelman, 40. "The future burdens for this luxury building and its luxury residents will fall on my middle-class building."

Egelman said the State Historic Preservation Office’s opinion is a victory for residents and hopes it will influence the village’s landmarks commission.

Mayor Steve Weinberg said he couldn’t comment on the preservation office’s opinion. He added that a notice will be sent out for the next Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting, but could not confirm a date.

"We set forth a process for this to be considered," Weinberg said Tuesday. "Obviously we want to hear from the public. The applicant has to support the application. The village is not sponsoring the application. The village is considering the application."


Several residents filed a lawsuit last month in Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola challenging an amendment to the village code, which granted incentive zoning for a single property located at 124 South Middle Neck Rd. The plaintiffs also allege that the village “erroneously issued a negative declaration under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act.”

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