Construction is underway to modernize a 240-unit affordable housing complex in Hempstead Village — a project that some officials hope will help transform the community.
The $35 million project at Park Lake Residences began in recent weeks after developers completed financing from Nassau County and Hempstead Town economic development agencies. Construction should be completed in 2023, officials said.
Modernizing the complex at South Franklin Street and Martin Luther King Drive marked "the start of a housing revitalization in the village," said Richard Kessel, chairman of the Nassau Industrial Development Agency and Local Economic Assistance Corp. "I think it's going to be a tremendous shot in the arm for the village of Hempstead."
The complex is falling apart, Kessel told Newsday.
"You’re talking about a project that is going to impact thousands of people who live there and the bottom line is that those apartments were built many, many years ago," he said.
The LEAC in September approved $63.5 million in tax-exempt bonds to help developers complete their $65 million purchase of the 12-acre property. The 14-building apartment complex originally was constructed for military housing during World War II.
Separately, the town IDA in July approved $35 million in tax breaks to help finance renovations and building improvements.
The developers include a consortium of real estate entities operating under the name Park Lake Hempstead LP and headed by Manhattan developer Scott Jaffee.
As each apartment is renovated, current tenants will move to temporary living spaces in the complex until their units are ready for them to move back in, officials said.
Hempstead Mayor Waylyn Hobbs Jr. said some seniors living in the complex will move permanently to first-floor units because elevator service to upper floors is unavailable. No tenants will be evicted, the mayor and other officials said.
Revenues generated by the project will help fund programs such as construction of a splash park, according to Hobbs.
"Any improvements in the apartments and living is always beneficial," Hobbs told Newsday. "We’re happy for the improvements that are going to be made. … For our seniors, we wanted to make it more convenient for them to have access to their apartments."
Park Lake receives funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development's subsidized rent program. Tenants pay about 30% of their income to live in assisted housing, officials said.
The property is tax-exempt but pays $575,000 annually in lieu of taxes to the village, town, Hempstead school district and other entities, according to Park Lake's application for LEAC assistance.
Hobbs said some units in the aging buildings "could need improvements. I wouldn’t say all the apartments are falling apart, but they do need an upgrade. Some of them could use a modernization."