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Last Village Square holdout to sell to Glen Cove developer

Crews work on the Village Square demolition in

Crews work on the Village Square demolition in Glen Cove on Sept. 7, 2017, to make way for RXR's new apartment and retail complex. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The developer of a residential and retail project that Glen Cove leaders view as key to downtown revitalization has reached an agreement with a dermatologist who was the last landowner to sell his property on the site.

The pact between Uniondale-based RXR Realty and All Island Real Estate Holdings LLC will give RXR full control of the 2.5-acre site, called Village Square. All Island is owned by Dr. Joseph Onorato, whose dermatology and plastic-surgery practice has been on the parcel for about a decade.

Onorato owns a 1,850-square-foot Village Square parcel that includes his office and a now-vacant art studio. The rest of the four-building office and retail complex that will be revitalized has sat mostly vacant and fenced off for years.

The agreement, finalized on Friday, deeds a 1,900-square-foot space in the new Village Square to All Island. RXR also will pay the rent for a temporary office for Onorato a block away, and for relocation costs to and from Village Square.

Onorato’s Garden City attorney, Saul Fenchel, said his client was happy to reach “a fair resolution” that keeps his office downtown.

“He very much wanted to stay in Glen Cove,” Fenchel said. “He’s developed a patient base in Glen Cove, and he feels Glen Cove is a place where his services will be very much in demand.”

The company that previously planned to develop the site, Great Neck-based GCVS LLC, had convinced other Village Square owners to sell after it obtained city approval for a project similar to RXR’s in 2011, but talks between GCVS and Onorato broke down more than two years ago. RXR began talking with Onorato representatives late last year, as RXR was finalizing the purchase of the site from GCVS.

Adding pressure on Onorato, the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency in January began eminent domain proceedings against All Island. IDA officials said they were frustrated over how the project’s site in a prime downtown location had languished for years, creating what city and business leaders called an “eyesore” that marred downtown’s image.

RXR began demolition of Village Square on Sept. 7. Construction is scheduled to begin before the end of the year, with completion scheduled for about two years later, said Frank Haftel, first vice president of RXR.

Also on Sept. 7, the Glen Cove planning board unanimously approved an amended site plan for Village Square.

The amended plan includes 146 apartments in a single four- to five-story building, with about 15,600 square feet of retail space at ground level and a 16,000-square-foot public plaza to be deeded to the city and used for concerts, holiday celebrations and other events.

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