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Glen Cove IDA begins eminent-domain efforts on 2 properties

The site of the proposed Garvies Point waterfront

The site of the proposed Garvies Point waterfront development in Glen Cove on Dec. 6, 2016. The Glen Cove IDA is beginning eminent-domain proceedings against an asphalt plant across Glen Cove Creek. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency is beginning eminent-domain proceedings against two properties that would then be sold to developer RXR Realty.

One is a 2,000-square-foot part of 2.8 acres of prime downtown land that the Uniondale-based developer wants to turn into apartments, stores and a public plaza. The other is an asphalt plant across Glen Cove Creek from RXR’s proposed Garvies Point waterfront development of 1,110 apartments and condos, parks, stores and other amenities.

RXR unsuccessfully offered above-market value for both properties, said Frank Haftel, director of the Garvies Point project for RXR.

The IDA board Jan. 10 approved starting eminent-domain processes. But the agency is hoping to avoid it, said Michael Zarin, the IDA’s White Plains-based lawyer on the matters.

“These things have a way of signaling to the landowners that the city is really serious about these properties,” Zarin said. “The hope is always to condemn as a final, last resort.”

RXR is finalizing the purchase of most of the downtown Village Square property from GCVS LLC, which for years planned to develop the site. Like GCVS before it, RXR cannot get All Island Real Estate Holdings LLC to sell a 2,000-square-foot parcel that includes the dermatology office of Dr. Joseph Onorato, All Island’s principal. The parcel is needed for the development, Haftel said.

“We can’t be held hostage by 2,000 square feet,” Mayor and IDA Chairman Reginald Spinello said at the IDA meeting.

A new Village Square is key to the downtown’s revitalization and fits the definition of a public benefit required for eminent domain, Zarin said.

Onorato did not return phone calls for comment.

This is the second time the IDA has used an eminent-domain threat to spur the development of Village Square. The first, last year, was against GCVS, which, five years after receiving city approval for its project, had not begun construction. GCVS agreed to sell to RXR before eminent-domain proceedings occurred.

The site remains an unsightly collection of vacant buildings behind chain-link fences, making the new eminent-domain proceedings necessary, said Deputy Mayor Barbara Peebles, the IDA’s executive director.

“It’s hurting business, it’s a blight, and it looks horrible,” Peebles said.

The other property RXR has tried to buy is Rason Asphalt, which is about 2.6 acres, Haftel said. Rason management could not be reached for comment.

RXR wants to demolish the asphalt plant, seed the area for grass and then decide later on a potential long-term use.

“The people who will be enjoying the [Garvies Point] parks and gazebos, these idyllic environments, want to be looking at water and greenery,” Haftel said. “They don’t want to be looking at an industrial plant.”

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