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Freeport opens talks with 2nd bidder for Plaza West site

The Plaza West Bank building at the corner

The Plaza West Bank building at the corner of North Grove Street and Sunrise Highway in Freeport on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Freeport has opened negotiations with a second firm to redevelop the Plaza West site -- a long-vacant, six-story Art Deco bank building on Sunrise Highway.

Brisa Builders of Brooklyn wants to turn the 1929 structure into 110 residential units -- half apartments, half condos -- and 50 to 60 hotel rooms, village officials said. The plan also includes commercial space.

The building, once the tallest structure in Nassau and Suffolk counties, has been vacant since the early 1980s.

Freeport trustees unanimously voted on Monday to enter into 30 days of contract negotiations with Brisa.

"They were really competitive since day one," Mayor Robert Kennedy said. "I don't want to rush this. I want to do it right."

The board of trustees voted last month to enter into negotiations with another bidder, Jericho-based Georgica Green Ventures. Those negotiations are scheduled to end late this month, village attorney Howard Colton said.

Georgica Green Ventures proposed redeveloping the property as a 120-room hotel and 180-unit mixed-income apartment complex with some commercial space, village officials have said. Georgica Green president David Gallo has said the development would bring "much-needed mixed-income housing and commercial space" to the area south of Freeport's train station.

Brisa chief operating officer Michael Keller declined to comment on his company's proposal, citing the negotiations.

Six firms submitted redevelopment bids for the boarded up Plaza West building. Colton declined to comment about whether negotiations could be opened with more of the bidders.

The building is owned jointly by the village and the Freeport Community Development Agency. The village board of trustees and the agency must approve any redevelopment plan.

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