Freeport Village has sold a long-vacant Art Deco building on Sunrise Highway to a Woodbury-based real estate investment group for $6.4 million, the mayor said.
The developer, the DiNoto Group, plans to turn the Plaza West building — a former bank built in 1929 that was once the tallest structure on Long Island — into a mixed-use building that includes retail and 250 rental apartments for people 55 and older, officials said.
Mayor Robert Kennedy announced the sale of the six-story building during a Monday morning news conference. He said afterward that the apartments would serve a need among the community’s senior citizens.
“They love Freeport but there’s no senior housing available,” Kennedy said in an interview.
The village has had previous offers for the property, including turning it into a hotel and apartment complex, but some deals fell through while others were turned down by the board of trustees, the mayor said.
The board unanimously approved the deal with the DiNoto Group about two weeks ago, Kennedy said, and the contract was signed on Friday. There was no bidding process, though Kennedy said other offers came in around $5.5 million.
The redevelopment is expected to cost between $50 million and $60 million, officials said. Robert DiNoto, the developer’s CEO, said the company has not decided whether it will raze the Art Deco building.
“We’re not sure yet,” he said. “We’re not necessarily averse to keeping it.”
Known as the former Meadowbrook Bank building, the structure is considered one of Long Island’s “endangered historic places” by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, according to the society’s website.
DiNoto grew up in Freeport and said the deteriorating building has turned into an eyesore. “As far back as I can remember, it’s been empty,” he said.
Kennedy said he hopes the project will lure other businesses to the village and continue the downtown’s “renaissance.”
While the DiNoto Group is allowed to apply for a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, with the industrial development agencies in the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County, the village and developer agreed that the company would pay Freeport the full amount it would have in taxes.
“Whether or not you get a PILOT, you will still pay the Village of Freeport the portion it deserves,” Kennedy said.
DiNoto said the group would seek a PILOT in the future. The developer is working to secure building and zoning permits. A groundbreaking date has not been set.