Even as the region says goodbye to the opportunities a new headquarters for Amazon could have brought, other game-changing projects are taking steps — well, baby steps — forward.
Take the Nassau Hub. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently added $40 million in critical state funds for the site, half for three pedestrian bridges and half to help Northwell Health build an “innovation center,” that will include laboratory and educational space. That’s on top of $85 million the state already had earmarked for parking garages at the Hub.
The promise of new funds, which the Long Island Association and others have requested for more than a year, comes as developers Scott Rechler of RXR Realty and Brett Yormark, who heads the firm that manages the Nassau Coliseum, further develop their $1.5 billion plan to build office, retail, restaurant and entertainment space, along with 500 units of housing, on 77 acres owned by Nassau County around the Coliseum. Now, Nassau and the Town of Hempstead should move the process along, address concerns, and, eventually, approve the plans.
Northwell’s innovation center could serve as an anchor for a life-sciences industry on Long Island. And the pedestrian bridges will connect the Hub — a stand-alone area that’s difficult to get to without a car — to Hofstra University, Nassau Community College and RXR Plaza. That could provide a more walkable community for students and area employees, while improving traffic flow along the busy roads near the arena. It’ll also help connect the Hub to potential overflow parking, especially important during construction, which will be available at RXR and elsewhere.
It’s exactly the kind of state investment the Hub needs to go from suburban wasteland to economic engine. On to the next step.