The site of a former diner at 785 Merrick Rd.,...

The site of a former diner at 785 Merrick Rd., in Baldwin, is shown on Wednesday. The property will be part of the Baldwin Commons development that will include 33 newly constructed homes in the heart of the hamlet of Baldwin and within a quarter-mile of the Long Island Railroad station. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the award of $3.1 million Wednesday to developers of the Baldwin Commons apartments as part of a cornerstone of the downtown Baldwin revitalization project.

The funding is part of $104 million issued to 16 projects statewide to promote affordable housing. Baldwin will receive the $3.1 million on top of $10 million the state awarded in a downtown revitalization grant for the hamlet to transform its main corridor in the area of Grand Avenue.

The proposed $16 million Baldwin Commons project by Park Grove Development at 785 Merrick Rd. would add 33 new apartments aimed at commuter and workforce housing within a quarter-mile of the LIRR station.

Rendering of Baldwin Commons.

Rendering of Baldwin Commons. Credit: Park Grove Development

“Expanding the housing supply is the cornerstone of my $25 billion, five-year housing plan, and today's awards will move us one step closer toward achieving our goal of making New York a more affordable place for all,” Hochul said in a statement.

Community members and developers have tried for decades to overhaul downtown Baldwin and attract new businesses and apartments centered around the LIRR train station.

Local leaders hope that the new project, which must still be approved by the Hempstead Town Board, could be the beginning of long-stalled development between Merrick Road and Sunrise Highway.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s something substantial to have the community look forward to,” Baldwin Civic Association president Darrien Ward said. “I hope it may give other investors the motivation who may not have been gung-ho about development here. This may be the impetus this can happen.”

Park Grove is planning to build a 32,000 square-foot four-story building on the half-acre property, offering apartments for about 60% of the area’s median income and reserving 30% of apartments for seniors, according to the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency. The IDA also granted tax benefits under a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, last year.

The town rescinded a moratorium in April that would have halted development until it could be approved by board members to ensure projects fit various zoning and parking requirements.

“The success of the new projects will help the revitalization of the area that we are all looking forward to,” Hempstead Supervisor Donald X. Clavin said in a statement.

Kyle Strober of the Association for a Better Long Island said the project would help retain a young workforce and businesses seeking new employees.

Legis. Debra Mule’ (D-Freeport) said Baldwin has been working to transform its downtown for 20 years.

“This is exactly the type of development Baldwin has been asking for,” she said. “If done the correct way, it can really move Baldwin forward.”

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