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Glen Cove planning board to developer: Go for gold at Garvies Point

Construction of The Beacon, a 167-unit condominium building

Construction of The Beacon, a 167-unit condominium building that is part of the Garvies Point waterfront development in Glen Cove, is slated to begin "imminently," the developer says. Credit: RXR Glen Isle Partners

Members of the Glen Cove Planning Board expressed frustration that the first building to be constructed in the Garvies Point waterfront development likely won’t receive one of the top ratings for environmentally efficient buildings.

The board on Tuesday voted to subdivide the Beacon condominium building into 167 separate units for tax purposes — one for each condo — so Nassau County can assign separate tax identification numbers. Construction of the building is expected to start “imminently,” said Frank Haftel, director of the Garvies Point project for Uniondale-based developer RXR Glen Isle Partners.

But much of the discussion was focused on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — LEED — certification.

LEED has four ratings: certified, silver, gold and, the top rating, platinum. The rating is determined by the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council.

The planning board requires that each building is deemed “certified,” Haftel said. RXR expects to qualify the building for silver certification, he said.

But board chairman Thomas Scott said he wants RXR to aim for gold.

Lauren Hildebrand, RXR’s LEED consultant on the Beacon and senior sustainability consultant with Manhattan-based Steven Winter Associates, said the location of Garvies Point makes that difficult.

LEED awards points for factors such as proximity to public transportation and to banks, laundries, restaurants and other “resources,” she said. Garvies Point is on the waterfront and not within a short walking distance to public transportation, nor to enough resources, Hildebrand said.

“You keep saying it’s a bad location,” Scott said. “You have the ferry, you have the railroad, buses. You’re saying you don’t get points for that?”

Hildebrand said there’s no credit for bus or rail service if it’s not within close walking distance.

Board member John Maccarone said the Nassau Inter-County Express bus system may add service once Garvies Point buildings are occupied. But, Hildebrand said, “because it’s not there currently, you can’t assume it would happen.” The same, she said, is true for retail stores and restaurants planned for Garvies Point.

Temporary ferry service to Manhattan is available near the Beacon site until September to help address reduced Long Island Rail Road service because of construction at Penn Station, but the ferry service wouldn’t earn LEED credit until it’s permanent, she said. The city so far has been unable to find an operator for long-term ferry service.

RXR also gets less credit because its units are, on average, larger than typical units in New York City, for example, and have large windows — characteristics designed to appeal to a suburban market, Haftel said. But to compensate, the company will receive many points for energy-efficient construction, including windows that reflect light away from the living spaces, he said.

“We are trying our best to exceed the requirements,” Haftel said.

RXR will seek LEED certification for each building in Garvies Point and then for the whole project, which is to include, when complete, 1,110 condos and apartments, several parks, stores, offices, restaurants and marinas.

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