The owner of two dilapidated buildings on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck is proposing to build a four-story structure for residential and commercial use, making it the second proposal in the past month to construct mixed-use buildings in the village’s business corridor.
The plan, which was presented for the first time at the Aug. 6 village meeting, calls for demolishing a couple of two-story buildings on 733-741 Middle Neck Rd. and building a 42-foot-tall structure consisting of retail space and 25 apartments.
“This will dramatically improve this corner,” said John Farrell, a Uniondale-based attorney representing Great Neck-based Gesher Community LLC, which owns the property. “These buildings are much, much older … and are in desperate need of improvement.”
One of the two buildings on the corner of Middle Neck Road and North Road has stayed vacant for the past 30 years, according to Mayor Pedram Bral. The other one, which is partially occupied by a shoe repair shop, is in poor condition.
“We all agree the existing buildings are just horrible,” Bral said. “It’s over 30 years that those buildings have been handed from one owner to another owner, and no one has done anything.”
When Farrell presented the plan to the village board Tuesday, he said the new building would help create — not a downtown — but more of "a downtown feel,” though some in the audience disagreed.
“It’s an industrial feel,” said resident Amy Glass, who criticized the size and appearance of the proposed building.
Under current plan, the structure would be constructed with a footprint of 8,500 square feet on a 15,000-square-feet lot.
“This is much too large and much too ugly to be considered for our neighborhood,” Glass said. “It’s just like a huge box, an industrial building.”
Barton Sobel, the village’s deputy mayor, said the rendering presented by the applicant was not accurate in its scale.
“We are not going to approve a three-block warehouse on a 15,000-square-foot property,” Sobel said.
Tuesday’s proposal marked the second time a property owner has come to the village board in the past month to bring forward construction plans.
Steven Wu Kuo, with Silver Lake Realty Group, told the village board on July 16 that he wanted to transform a one-story commercial building on 523-531 Middle Neck Rd., half a mile south of Gesher’s buildings, into a three-story structure that would contain retail space and 10 apartments.