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The race to develop Belmont
On a typical weekday summer morning at Belmont Park, there is not a lot going on except for some horses getting in shape. But on Thursday, developers were pacing the property.
Two of Belmont’s parking lots were toured by interested developers, construction managers, communications professionals and others who might bid on two pieces of prime developable land — an 8-acre parcel on the north side of Hempstead Turnpike near the train station and 28 acres on the south side of Hempstead Turnpike.
Sources told The Point that more than 30 people took the tour led by state Empire State Development Corp. officials. The deadline for proposals is Sept. 28.
The last time Empire State Development issued a request for proposals, four developers submitted bids. But after four years of waiting, Empire State Development just canceled the request. While that may be an extreme result, a look at past Empire State Development decision-making shows that it can take a while for winners to be chosen.
At Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, for instance, proposals were due in April 2016, and a decision was made in February of 2017 — a 10-month wait.
But then, there’s the quicker tale of the Penn Station-Farley complex in Manhattan, where proposal submissions were due in April 2016, and the developers were selected by September.
Empire State Development will never have the speed of Secretariat, but Belmont could be a record-setter.
Randi F. Marshall
Cuomo the Builder puts on his boots
In the most recent stop on his summerlong transit tour, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wasn’t descending into the dark bowels of the subway system to examine fraying electrical systems. Thursday was all about air and light and glass ceilings.
Cuomo the Builder wanted to highlight the significant construction underway on the 225,000-square-foot Moynihan Train Hall, which will benefit beleaguered Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak passengers. The train hall is just a piece of the $2.5 billion effort to remake the Penn Station-Farley complex into some approximation of the glory that was the original terminal of the Pennslyania Railroad. See the renderings here of a space designed to treat commuters as humans.
At Farley, workers were busy demolishing the concrete and steel flooring to prepare it for the building of a train hall that will be an acre long and have a 92-foot-high skylight.
Completion is scheduled by the end of 2020. Yes, that 2020.
Randi F. Marshall
Paladino booted off board
Carl Paladino, the wealthy businessman who pledged to take a baseball bat to Albany in his controversial 2010 campaign for governor, was the avatar for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Now, he doesn’t even have a seat on the Buffalo school board.
New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia on Thursday morning booted the polarizing figure for breaking state education law by revealing confidential information about the board’s contract negotiations with teachers. It took Elia many months, including a five-day hearing, to come to her decision, leaving the Buffalo board in turmoil.
But soon she will have another hot potato. Next up for Elia is an appeal of the June 30 vote by the Hempstead school board to oust board member LaMont Johnson, also for allegedly disclosing ostensibly confidential information — the names and addresses of district employees. Johnson is accused of giving the data to the campaign of his ally, Randy Stith, who won election in May. Johnson’s removal roiled the troubled and impoverished school district.
The fate of Johnson is only one of four Hempstead appeals that have landed in Elia’s lap. One from school board member David Gates seek the removal of board members Maribel Toure and Gwen Jackson, who voted to remove Johnson, and of Mary Crosson, who was named to replace Johnson.
While no dispute over a Long Island school board member has yet reached the heights of notoriety achieved by Paladino, Hempstead might produce a record number of cases.
Rita Ciolli and Michael Dobie