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Vacant site in Glen Cove being sold to Garvies Point developer

The Village Square in Glen Cove where RXR

The Village Square in Glen Cove where RXR Developer has placed faux grass fencing along the property, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Credit: Steve Pfost

A mostly vacant piece of prime downtown Glen Cove land is being sold to the same company that is developing the nearby $960-million Garvies Point project along the city’s waterfront.

Uniondale-based RXR Realty will build a similar combination of apartments, stores and a public plaza that Jobco Realty and Construction had been planning, said RXR’s Frank Haftel.

A joint statement Wednesday from RXR, Jobco and GCVS LLC, the current owner of most of the 2.8-acre site, said a closing on the land sale is expected in January.

Haftel is director of the Garvies Point project for RXR and said that, even though “each project stands on its own,” there is synergy between the developments, which would be a quarter mile apart.

“Having a revitalized, active, vibrant downtown Glen Cove is good for the waterfront” project, Haftel said.

In turn, Garvies Point -- which will include 1,110 apartments and condos -- will stimulate the downtown economy and bring customers to stores at the new development, which tentatively will retain the name of Village Square, the name of the retail and office complex formerly on the site, he said.

RXR hopes to begin construction on Village Square in the next few months, Haftel said.

Great Neck-based Jobco had planned to build a European-style development with 110 apartments and more than 25,000 square feet of commercial space opening up onto a publicly accessible plaza that would host concerts and other events.

Haftel said that general concept will remain, but RXR may make design changes.

Jobco president Michael Puntillo, who also is owner of GCVS, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Glen Cove Planning Board approved Jobco’s proposal in 2011. But city officials and nearby businesses have become increasingly frustrated that, instead of the new apartments, stores and plaza they had anticipated by now, downtown visitors instead see mostly vacant buildings surrounded by chain-link fencing.

The city, concerned that the lack of progress was hurting efforts to attract more businesses downtown, began taking steps toward taking over the property by eminent domain, and in July, representatives of 12 companies – including RXR – attended an “expressions of interest” meeting on developing the site, Deputy Mayor Barbara Peebles said.

One stumbling block to developing the site has been a still-active court battle between GCVS and Dr. Joseph Onorato, a dermatologist who owns Village Square space housing his office and an art studio, over attempts by Puntillo to shut off utilities to Onorato’s office.

Haftel said RXR already has reached out to Onorato, who did not return phone calls for comment.

Peebles said RXR’s pending purchase of Village Square, along with movie chain AMC’s plans to convert Glen Cove Cinemas into luxury theaters and other new downtown businesses, show that downtown Glen Cove is reviving.

“What a wonderful endorsement of our downtown,” she said.

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