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Developer seeks zoning change for Westbury apartment hotel project

This undated image shows an artist's rendering of

This undated image shows an artist's rendering of "The Portofino," a proposed development in Westbury. Credit: The Beechwood Organization

The developer of a proposed 195-unit apartment-hotel complex at the former Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury is seeking Town of Hempstead approval to change the zoning from industrial to cluster residential housing.

The potential zoning change would make way for the estimated $25 million development -- The Portofino -- near Zeckendorf Boulevard and Corporate Drive. The development, spearheaded by the Beechwood Organization, a residential developer based in Jericho, would be designed to attract young people.

"It employs a lot of principles of smart growth," Beechwood principal Michael Dubb said about the proposed development near Roosevelt Field mall. "It is a walkable community. You can walk to the supermarket, the restaurants and the movies."

The town board plans to hold hearings on the proposal Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in the pavilion adjacent to Hempstead Town Hall.

The proposed six-floor apartment hotel would sit on 5 1/2 acres and comprise 68 one- and two-bedroom hotel suites. It would also have 127 long-term rental apartments, of which 71 would be one-bedroom and 56 two-bedrooms.

"There is a market for hotel use and rentals for Long Island," said Eric Alexander, executive director of the nonprofit planning group Vision Long Island, adding that the developer has a great track record. "We see hotels being built and rental houses being financed. To combine the two is interesting. We haven't seen that."

The Portofino would be accompanied by a 2,000-square-foot, 50-seat restaurant and 3,000-square-foot fitness center, as well as a soccer field dedicated to the town as parkland. About 429 parking spaces would be for residents and hotel guests, while 46 spaces would be for users of the proposed soccer field that would sit on 4 acres.

"We felt we could get everything we needed on this piece of land and be able to give the town a soccer field for parkland," Dubb said.

The town board voted 5-0 on Jan. 7 to accept the project's environmental impact declaration study, town spokesman Michael Deery said. The study found the proposed project would not have a "significant adverse environmental impact" on land, water, air quality, public health and safety.

"They would have to come before the board to decide whether the town would rezone to allow the proposal," Deery said.

The project would generate about $2.8 million in tax revenue annually, with $1.8 million going to the Uniondale Union Free School District. Developers estimate between 10 and 14 schoolchildren could live in the structure.

Beechwood's notable project is the Meadowbrook Pointe Athletic Club & Spa, a $400 million gated community of 700 condominiums and town houses for residents aged 55 and up, down the road on Zeckendorf Boulevard.

"There is a tremendous need for housing without responsibility, meaning that there are a lot of people who are not ready to own a home or need to get out of their homes," Dubb said.



The Portofino


Proposed: 195-unit six-story apartment hotel; 68 hotel suites and 127 long-term rental apartments

Amenities: 2,000-square-foot, 50-seat restaurant and 3,000-square-foot fitness center

Size: 5.5 acres

Location: South of Corporate Drive, east of Zeckendorf Boulevard in Westbury

Public Space: Soccer field on an additional 4 acres

Parking: 429 parking spaces for apartment hotel; 46 parking spaces for soccer field.

Developers: Beechwood Portofino LLC, Meadowbrook Pointe Development Corp. and GWB Land Corp.

Source: Town of Hempstead

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