NYU Langone Health opening sites at former Sears, Lord & Taylor stores

NYU Langone Health is spending millions of dollars snapping up and revamping former department stores and other vacant retail spaces to expand its network on Long Island.

The Manhattan-based health care system is planning to open medical facilities at a former Lord & Taylor store in Manhasset, a former Sears in Garden City, a former Burlington store  in Patchogue and a shopping center in Middle Island.

NYU Langone Health also will be opening two medical facilities in newly constructed buildings — at a mixed-use site in Commack and beside a retail building in Westhampton.

In fact, the health care system has about 700,000 square feet of new ambulatory care clinical projects under development in former retail, or mixed-use spaces, on Long Island, according to Andrew Rubin, senior vice president of clinical affairs and ambulatory care at NYU Langone Health.

NYU Langone Health has more than 300 locations in the New York metro region, including more than 100 on Long Island, and in Palm Beach County, Florida.

More health care providers are turning to retail spaces for expansion, and that is directly related to increased vacancies in traditional retail and the growth of e-commerce, said Thomas LaSalvia, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics CRE, a Manhattan-based real estate information provider.

“But the growth of urgent care as an evolution in that industry can’t be discounted. The timing has been good,” he said.

The former retail spaces offer plentiful parking, which can be at a premium in western Nassau County, and good access to target demographics, said Philip M. Heilpern, senior vice president in the Melville office of real estate firm CBRE.

He was part of the team that represented Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Co., parent of the former Lord & Taylor chain, with leasing some of the vacant store buildings it owns on Long Island.

Health care providers are usually creditworthy tenants that add stability to the vacant spaces, Heilpern said.

“Health systems are almost recession-proof,”  he said.

Here is the rundown for NYU Langone Health’s Long Island plans:

Garden City: The health care system will open an ambulatory care center this fall in a former Sears building it has leased, Rubin said.

The four-level, 260,000-square-foot, free-standing building is at 1111 Franklin Ave.

Planned health services include radiology, women’s imaging, cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics and geriatrics.

As $60M Woodbury project begins, developer eyes more LI sites

While Manhattan-based developer Rockefeller Group is just beginning construction on a new distribution center in Woodbury, the company is hoping to expand its Long Island presence even further. 

The $60 million Woodbury project is a redevelopment of two properties at 1 Media Crossways and 200 Crossways Park Drive, a combined 9-acre site formerly occupied by Cablevision and E&M Logistics. Rockefeller Group is building a 145,200-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility called Crossways Logistics Center that’s expected to be completed by the end of the year. 

The new speculative project, which was assisted by tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, will include 36-foot ceilings, 54-foot-by-50-foot column spacing, more than 270 car spaces, 18 trailer spaces, 35 dock doors and 60-foot speed bays. Cushman & Wakefield is handling the leasing of the Woodbury facility. 

“Long Island’s existing industrial inventory is functionally obsolete with an average of 50 years old. Crossway Logistics Center offers a product to meet the tenant demand for flight-to-quality and is ideally situated with easy access to the Long Island Expressway,” said Nicholas Gallipoli of Cushman & Wakefield. “Supply chain resilience and cost savings are driving factors for companies expanding into Long Island.” 

The Woodbury project is Rockefeller Group’s second on Long Island, following a 172,622-square-foot distribution center on 10 acres at 55 Paradise Lane in Bay Shore. That facility, nearing completion and ready for occupancy this month, is being leased by JLL. The civil engineer for both Bay Shore and Woodbury projects is Huntington-based R&M Engineering and the general contractor for the projects is Ronkonkoma-based Aurora Contractors.  

“Being engaged early on to assist and work with Rockefeller’s design and entitlement entities was key to maintaining the groundbreaking date,” says Michael Adler, director of Business Development for Aurora Contractors. “We are very excited to assist Rockefeller with building their next addition to their Long Island portfolio.” 

Rockefeller Group’s first industrial projects on Long Island come as millions of square feet of similar developments have been proposed, which could greatly increase the supply of space here that needs to be filled. And at the same time, some prospective e-commerce tenants that had been gobbling up space here have been cutting back. Amazon just announced it will lay off another 9,000 employees, which comes on the heels of 18,000 jobs the company cut at the end of last year. 

But execs at Rockefeller Group are not worried that its speculative projects will find tenants. 

“When you look at Long Island or any other area across the country and you see these large pipelines, it doesn’t mean it’s always going to get built,” says Heath Abramsohn, vice president and regional director for Rockefeller Group. The market has definitely changed, and values have been impacted as a result. Financing, both from an equity and debt perspective, is challenging and that’s going to impact deliverability of these projects.” 

In addition, Abramsohn said his firm is tailoring its new Long Island facilities to fit the current demand from a variety of users instead of aiming for one large tenant. He added that it’s likely both the Bay Shore and Woodbury facilities will be leased to multiple tenants. 

“Long Island historically has been a smaller occupier space market. I don’t think that’s changed,” Abramsohn said. “You might get the anomaly that user out there that might need larger space, but for the most part from our perspective and strategy, we’re not going to be focusing on large, big bomber buildings. We want to make sure we’re catering to the market appropriately and make sure we can design appropriately it so we can divide the premises.” 

Rockefeller Group has been engaged in large-scale industrial property development for nearly 40 years and has since developed more than 23 million square feet of Class-A industrial real estate for many major businesses and logistics firms. Over the past five years the company has completed more than 10 million square feet of industrial property in six states and today has an industrial development pipeline of more than 5 million square feet. 

After undertaking its first two Long Island projects, Rockefeller Group is “very bullish” on the Island and Abramsohn says the company is looking to expand further here. 

“We’re not done. We’re continually in the market looking at every site that comes available, whether it be raw land like Bay Shore or redevelopment similar to Woodbury,” Abramsohn said. “We’re not going to go and do millions of square feet all at once, but we will be delivering buildings consistently and we’ll be looking at sites consistently. We’re not parachuting in and leaving right away. We’re here and we’re continually pursuing opportunities.” 

Article: https://libn.com/2023/03/21/as-60m-woodbury-project-begins-developer-eyes-more-li-sites/

Woodbury warehouse wins IDA tax breaks despite union opposition

Nassau County has granted millions of dollars in tax breaks over 20 years to the developer of a warehouse in Woodbury over the opposition of construction unions.

In a 5-1 vote, the board of the county’s Industrial Development Agency gave final approval last week for a tax-aid package to support Rockefeller Group International’s warehouse on the former site of the News 12 studios.

The decision came three weeks after the board tabled an approval resolution when it became clear it wouldn’t be adopted. Instead, Rockefeller Group and the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council were ordered to hold more talks, with a goal of resolving their disagreement over the extent to which unionized subcontractors will work on the 145,200-square-foot warehouse.

A compromise wasn’t achieved, according to representatives of Manhattan-based Rockefeller Group and the council, which represents 65,000 unionized workers.

Still, a majority of IDA board members said they supported the $55 million project because several hundred construction jobs and 65 permanent jobs are to be created. They also said Rockefeller Group, which is part of the Mitsubishi Estate Group, wants to do more developments in the county.

Rockefeller Group spokesman Brian P. Mahoney said the warehouse, to be called Crossways Logistics Center, “represents our first development in the growing eastern Nassau/Long Island industrial market …[and] is expected to be completed by the end of the year.”

The developer is also building a warehouse on Paradise Lane in Bay Shore, he said on Tuesday.

The Nassau IDA tax-aid package consists of a sales-tax exemption of up to $1.2 million on the purchase of construction materials and equipment and 20 years of property-tax savings with the tax rate rising 2% each year.

At last week’s meeting, IDA board member Timothy M. Williams introduced the approval resolution, saying, “This is a great project that needs to get done. But going forward, I believe we should mandate that [developers] reach out and give fair opportunity to all the unions.”

Board member John Coumatos cast the sole “nay” vote. Citing testimony from Local 361 of the Iron Workers union, he said a steel fabrication company from North Carolina has been hired to work on the Woodbury warehouse. “If you are going to do that, don’t come to the IDA,” Coumatos told Newsday on Monday. “We’re about creating jobs for Nassau County residents.”

IDA chairman Richard Kessel said, “We cannot mandate the use of labor unions, but we can mandate that before [a developer] receives a preliminary [approval of their aid application] that they’ve started a discussion with the building trades.”

Matthew Aracich, president of the trades council, called on the IDA to ensure Rockefeller Group creates the promised jobs. “I hope they follow this project,” he said in an interview.

Peter L. Curry, the developer’s real estate attorney, responded that the general contractor on the Woodbury warehouse, Aurora Contractors Inc. in Ronkonkoma, mailed bid information to 395 unionized subcontractors, received back 43 bids and awarded $7.5 million in contracts to unionized subcontractors, or about half of the available work.

Article: https://www.newsday.com/business/ida-tax-breaks-warehouse-rockefeller-group-unions-cb0sgym4

Commercial brokers express cautious optimism at CIBS event

An industry panel expressed cautious optimism when discussing the commercial real estate outlook for the year ahead. 

More than 160 people attended the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island’s 2023 State of the Industry event last week in Melville. The event featured a panel that included David Hercman, director of Asset Management at Milvado Property Group; Robert Kent, executive vice president and partner at Tritec; Craig Weiss, president of T. Weiss Realty; Kyle Crennan, managing director with JLL; Paul Leone, senior vice president at CBRE; and Melissa Naeder, senior director for Cushman & Wakefield. The panel was moderated by Peter Curry of Farrell Fritz, P.C. 

The panel discussed trends and predictions for the industrial, office, retail, and multifamily sectors. 

“The industry is approaching 2023 with cautious optimism,” CIBS Co-President Ted Stratigos, managing director and principal at Avison Young, said. “While some sectors continue to face challenges, our region has always been resilient. The retail and industrial sectors remain strong and we are all too familiar with the need for multifamily housing.” 

The conversation focused on current market conditions, regional projects and the obstacles of doing business on Long Island. 

“The commercial real estate industry faces many of the challenges other industries on Long Island do,” Curry said. “With the uncertain economic forecasts for the year ahead, the experts on the panel were quick to note the industry’s ability and history in outperforming other markets.” 

Last month, CIBS announced its new slate of executive board members, including two members selected to serve as co-presidents, David Pennetta, two-time past CIBS president and Cushman & Wakefield executive managing director and Ted Stratigos, managing director and principal at Avision Young. 

Other executive officers for CIBS include Ralph Benzakein of Cresa Long Island, who will serve as vice president; Melissa Naeder of Cushman & Wakefield, who’ll serve as treasurer; Leo Farrell of Avison Young, who serves as secretary; and United Realty principal Gary Schacker, who will serve as strategic officer. 

Article: https://libn.com/2023/02/23/commercial-brokers-express-cautious-optimism-at-cibs-event/

GZA GeoEnvironmental opens Melville office

GZA GeoEnvironmental, which provides geotechnical, environmental, ecological, water and construction management services, has opened a Long Island office. 

The firm, which is headquartered in Norwood, Mass., now has a 2,635-square-foot office at 324 South Service Road in Melville. 

The firm’s new Long Island office is being led by GZA principal Cassandra Wetzel, who also heads the firm’s Manhattan office. 

“As a native New Yorker, the granddaughter of nurses from the Kings Park state hospital, and the niece of a former Smithtown planning director, it truly feels like coming home to bring our employee-owned company out to serve the uniquely wonderful set of communities that make up Long Island,’’ Wetzel said in a company statement. 

Patrick Sheehan, GZA’s president and CEO, said the firm has been involved in projects on Long Island for many years. 

“We are excited to add a closer local presence for our current and prospective clients through our new Melville office,” Sheehan said in the statement. “Cassandra and GZA team members in Melville will also be able to leverage the expertise and capabilities of GZA specialists throughout the country to deliver clients innovative solutions to complex challenges.” 

Chris Anastasiou, vice president of O’Leary Construction, a civil construction firm based in New Hyde Park, said he has used GZA for various projects. 

“It is great news for anyone on Long Island pursuing complex engineering and demolition projects, environmental remediation, waterfront development and resiliency projects that GZA can now serve you from their new local office in Melville,” Anastasiou said in the statement. “GZA’s engineers and professionals have unrivaled expertise and experience, they provide exceptionally responsive client service, and they produce smart, innovative solutions to all kinds of engineering and environmental challenges.” 

GZA employs more than 700 professionals among its 31 offices in 16 states. 

RXR sheds three more Long Island office properties

As part of its ongoing effort to divest its Woodbury portfolio, RXR has sold three more of its office properties. 

Hauppauge-based Aresco Management purchased the 125,293-square-foot building on 6 acres at 88 Froehlich Farm Blvd. for $21.5 million. 

Built in 1999, the building is 96 percent occupied with a tenant roster that includes CBIZ, Gettry Marcus, Wells Fargo and several others. Aresco plans to convert the vacant space on the lower level into amenity space for the tenants. 

The 70,203-square-foot building on 5.49 acres at 177-199 Crossways Park Drive was purchased by Dunkirk Realty for $12.5 million. Built in 1965 and renovated in 1993, the building is 100 percent occupied by five tenants. 

A partnership of Peter Tilles and Frank Zuckerbrot, 230 TZ Realty LLC, purchased a 16,943-square-foot building on 1.48 acres at 230-240 Crossways Park Drive for $2.965 million. Built in 1976, the building is 100 percent occupied by two tenants. 

The three properties were part of the portfolio of more than 30 Woodbury office and industrial properties that RXR took over from CLK/Houlihan-Parnes in a loan-to-own strategy more than a dozen years ago. 

In 2014, RXR secured a $144 million loan from an affiliate of Manhattan-based NorthStar Realty Finance to refinance 28 of its office and industrial properties in Woodbury. The financing represented about 84 percent of the $171 million that the portfolio was valued at the time and was used to pay off the portfolio’s pre-existing CMBS loans that had a balance of $128.7 million. 

In recent years, RXR has been selling off its Woodbury portfolio to investors and end-users. At the end of 2018, RXR sold six of its Woodbury office buildings to the Feil Organization for $37.4 million. The six buildings, which totaled 192,916 square feet, included 65 Froehlich Farm Blvd., 105 Froehlich Farm Blvd., 175 Froehlich Farm Blvd., 225 Froehlich Farm Blvd., 800 Woodbury Road and 99 Sunnyside Blvd. 

At the end of 2021, RXR sold a 50,559-square-foot office building on 6 acres at 1 Media Crossways to the Rockefeller Group for $10.25 million and a 35,000-square-foot building on 3.68 acres at 420-424 Crossways Park Drive to Dunkirk Realty for $6 million. 

Today, only a handful of Woodbury properties are left in the RXR portfolio. 

Jeffrey Dunne, Steve Bardsley, Travis Langer and Phil Heilpern of CBRE procured the buyers and represented seller RXR in the recent Woodbury sales transactions. 

Article: https://libn.com/2023/02/22/rxr-sheds-three-more-long-island-office-properties/

Eisenhower Park restaurant project getting IDA incentives

A project to create a new restaurant and catering venue in Eisenhower Park has received preliminary approval for economic incentives from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency. 

The $5.3 million project from Manhasset-based EGB Hospitality aims to renovate the building formerly occupied by the Carltun, which closed in 2022 after 27 years of operation. 

The new Grand Lannin venue, will have a restaurant called The Devereux, named for Eisenhower Park’s Red Course designer Devereux Emmet. Expected to open in May, the facility will include the restaurant, catering venue, outdoor patio, golf course concessions and a cigar club, according to an IDA statement. 

The county is hoping the new hospitality offering will help attract professional golf tournaments, as the last pro event was held at the Red Course in 2008. 

“The upgrades proposed at Eisenhower Park are exactly what is needed to make it a competing location to attract major golf tournaments and other events,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said in the statement. “We’re excited to see this project come to fruition and look forward to the positive impact it will have on Nassau County and its residents.” 

The project is expected to create 20 construction-phase jobs, 30 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs within one year of completion and five additional FTE jobs within two years of completion with salaries ranging from $60,000 to $175,000 per year, according to the IDA statement. 

“The benefits of this project are difficult to overstate,” Nassau IDA Chairman Richard Kessel said in the statement. “Not only will it bring dozens of well-paying jobs to our residents, but it will also see a tremendous uptake in tourism and income to Nassau County. The NCIDA looks forward to this project’s next steps and bringing yearly professional golf events back to Long Island.” 

Elias Trahanas, partner of EGB Hospitality, said the priority for the Long Island-based company is bringing top-quality experiences to the community. 

“Located in the very center of Nassau County, Eisenhower Park is the perfect place for people inside and outside the community to come together, whether they attend a PGA event or want to enjoy a day golfing and dining with friends,” Trahanas said in the statement. “We could not have done this without assistance from the NCIDA, and we are grateful for the help they provided in making this project a reality.” 

Article: https://libn.com/2023/02/07/eisenhower-park-restaurant-project-getting-ida-incentives/

Nassau County IDA to negotiate tax breaks for the revamped Carltun catering hall

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency agreed Thursday night to negotiate a tax deal with the new operators of the Carltun restaurant and catering hall in Eisenhower Park as part of a larger plan to resume having professional golf tournaments in the county-owned park.

EGB Hospitality LLC is seeking a sales-tax exemption of up to $345,000 on the purchase of equipment and furnishings, said Elias Trahanas, one of the company’s five partners, who are all active in the restaurant industry.

He said the 35,000-square-foot eatery and events space needs $5.5 million in renovations to meet the standards of the PGA and LPGA, as well as national car auctions and charitable events. The improvements are already underway.

“When we took over the [facility’s lease last year], one of the things that really surprised us was the equipment and furniture was very much rundown,” Trahanas said at the IDA meeting. “There are three kitchens where nothing works.”

He continued, “So, we would use this [sales-tax exemption] to buy equipment, to buy furniture to bring the facility up to what it has to be to be able to bring professional events and tournaments” to Eisenhower Park.

The park last hosted a professional tournament on its 18-hole Red Course in 2008. The event, sponsored by Commerce Bank, was part of the PGA Champions Tour for golfers over 50. The annual tournament began in 1987 at a private golf club in Jericho before transferring to the public course.

In 1926, the men’s PGA Championship was played on the Red Course and won by golf legend Walter Hagen.

Another public golf course on Long Island, Bethpage Black at Bethpage State Park, has hosted both the men’s PGA Championship and U.S. Open, along with other PGA Tour events. The private Shinnecock Hills Golf Club has hosted the men’s U.S. Open several times. And the international Ryder Cup tournament will be played on the Bethpage Black course in 2025.

On Thursday, IDA chairman Richard Kessel said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman supports bringing professional golf back to Eisenhower Park, along with other big events.

“This will bring people to the county and be a moneymaker for all the merchants in the area,” Kessel said.

Blakeman told Newsday on Friday, “The upgrades proposed at Eisenhower Park are exactly what is needed to make it a competing location to attract major golf tournaments and other events. We’re excited to see this project come to fruition.”

IDA board member John Coumatos, a restaurateur in Bethpage, agreed, adding the revamped restaurant and catering hall will employ up to 70 people and buy food and beverages from local sources. “It’s going to give revenue to other businesses,” he said.

Trahanas said the facility has been renamed The Grand Lannin to honor businessman Joseph J. Lannin, who created the park, formerly known as Salisbury Golf Club, in 1917. Once the renovations are completed, he estimated the venue will have the capacity to serve about 1,000 people between the larger ballroom and sit-down restaurant.

Article: https://www.newsday.com/business/pga-lpga-golf-catering-hall-ida-tax-breaks-llialmwd

Town revives plan to rezone LI’s corporate center for live/work redevelopment

A long-dormant effort to transform Melville into an employment-oriented town center has gained new momentum.

First floated nearly a decade ago, the Town of Huntington has held listening sessions in the last few weeks on the Melville Employment Center plan, which is aimed at adding multifamily housing and supporting retail to the area now dominated by office buildings.

In 2015, the town commissioned a study by a team of planning consultants that suggested more mixed-use development is needed so companies could better attract employees who would also live within Melville’s corporate corridor.

Though the plan was primarily posed as a solution to prevent “brain drain,” the idea has new impetus, as rising vacancies in some of the area’s office buildings is presenting new urgency for property owners and town officials.

“My biggest concern is that these office buildings become vacant,” said Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth. “The town has to do everything we can to ensure that these properties are economically viable, whether that’s office space or mixed-use, or all residential. But what we can’t allow to happen is for this area to have derelict buildings.”

Originally, the first iteration of the Melville Employment Center plan targeted under-utilized parking lots of existing office buildings and other adjacent sites for possible redevelopment into rental apartments. But with increasing vacancy rates for many Class B office properties, some Melville landlords say they are ready to replace office buildings with new mixed-use projects.

Tony Fromer, a principal of The We’re Group, which along with partner Angelo, Gordon & Co., own and manage more than 1.3 million square feet of Melville office space, says the MEC plan would be a “very big positive” for the area.

“I believe that the mix of residential where allowable under this new overlay plan would encourage people to stay in the area and give them the opportunity to live and be able to walk or bike to many of their work locations,” Fromer said. “I think that this plan would breathe a lot of life into that area and also provide some retail where right now people do not have an opportunity other than going to the Walt Whitman mall or just driving a decent distance away to get anything.”

Fromer also points out the changes that the office market has gone through over the last three years that were accelerated by the COVID pandemic.

“Everybody is working from home and even if they’re coming in it’s on a three- or four-day basis,” he said. “Every tenant who’s coming up for renewal right now is either reducing their square footage or just not renewing at all or beating up the landlords big time right in terms of rent, so it’s put a lot of inventory back on the market.”

Another Melville property owner, Larry Levine, of the Levine Organization, says he is also onboard with the redevelopment effort. The company got its start in the early 1960s when Levine’s father purchased several acres of Melville land from local farmers, and with partners now owns and manages about 550,000 square feet of office space in four buildings.

Levine said his firm’s 54,000-square-foot office building at 10 Melville Park Road may be a candidate for redevelopment, since it’s likely to become vacant this year as the lease of its sole tenant, Marcum LLP, is expiring.

“You don’t want to wind up with a bunch of empty office buildings which obviously will be worth very little and wind up not paying a lot of taxes and it’s just not good for the town,” Levine told LIBN.

Smyth says he is well aware of the consequences of that scenario, as the town stands to lose millions in taxes if vacancies at Melville office buildings continue to climb and some become completely empty.

“The quality-of-life issue is that vacant buildings attract problems,” the supervisor said. “The economic impact of it is vacant buildings aren’t worth much and the town loses revenue when they get reassessed so there’s the two-fold problem.”

But Levine is optimistic that the MEC plan is a very viable solution, especially in creating more housing opportunities close by.

“There’s an unfulfilled need on Long Island to get affordable housing for young people which would provide employees for office tenants, so it’s self-fulfilling,” Levine said. “There are a lot of companies that don’t want to locate here because they can’t get young professionals while there’s no place for them to live. Long Island wants to retain that young talent in the worst way, and this helps the office buildings to get that young talent because we’re providing them with a place to start.”

Huntington-based G2D Group, which acquired a 52,000-square-foot office building on 3.8 acres at 560 Broadhollow Road in Nov. 2021, has already pitched a new project for the property that would replace the existing office building with two smaller mixed-use buildings. Company principal Greg DeRosa, whose firm owns about 200,000 square feet of office space in Melville, also supports the redevelopment initiative.

“It’s an opportunity to take some assets that are underutilized and convert them to a more modern-day use,” DeRosa said. “If approved, the MEC provides some flexibility to developers to create more of a live-work-play atmosphere right within Melville which also addresses the housing shortage, one of the primary issues why we’re having a hard time keeping companies on Long Island.”

The initial MEC plan called for the creation of a zoning overlay district in the areas between Walt Whitman Road, Broadhollow Road, Pinelawn Road and Sweet Hollow Road north of Ruland Road. And while it proposed allowing infill development of multifamily housing and “limited small-scale retail and restaurant uses,” planning experts say redevelopment should provide for a more robust town center.

“I definitely think that it needs to be more of a complete community rather than just plopping some housing in the middle of an office park, especially if you know it’s dead after 5 p.m. That’s not a necessarily comfortable place to live,” says Elissa Kyle, director of Placemaking for Vision Long Island. “People who would live there need to go to the grocery store or might want to grab a cup of coffee. If there is just housing without anything else around, all those people are going to have to drive more and cause more traffic.”

Kyle said the redevelopment should be designed to make it walkable and have more of a human scale.

“The plan I saw from 2016 had some of the right ideas, but it was still the big parking lot separating different uses and that’s not exactly the nicest thing to walk past and not really going to encourage anyone to walk rather than drive, she said. “You want to have interesting things to walk past so it’s not just blank facades or crossing 200 feet of parking lot before you get to the next building. You want it to be an interesting place where there are storefronts and different activities going on.”

Though there might not be many live/work/play environments outside of some of Long Island’s downtowns, Kyle said there are several other examples of successful suburban town centers in other states, including Addison Circle outside of Dallas and Legacy Town Center in Plano, Texas, which was redeveloped from an outdated office park.

Don Catalano, broker/owner of iOptimize Realty, who has signed corporate tenants to office space at some of the country’s popular town center developments, says they are the wave of the future and a preferred alternative to traditional suburban office parks.

Catalano brokered a deal for Coca-Cola to lease 115,000 square feet of office space at Sugar Land Town Square, a 1.4 million-square-foot live/work/play development on 32 acres about 20 miles outside of Houston. He said the self-contained suburban development oozed enough charm and amenities that it convinced company officials to relocate and sell its $34 million property in downtown Houston.

One of Coca-Cola’s commercial real estate executives said of the Sugar Land complex: “It’s like Disneyland, but for companies,” Catalano recalled.

“Given the workplace flexibility of the remote revolution, conveniently located commercial spaces are becoming invaluable for companies that prioritize in-person collaboration,” Catalano said. “Think about it: Are employees more likely to commute two hours by public transportation or walk 10 minutes down the street?”

Often, Catalano said, young professionals are drawn to the self-sufficient and cost-effective environment of these new suburban live/work/play developments and end up staying for the community.

“It’s easy to lay down roots and hard to leave,” he said. “As such, they’re a great investment for property owners.”

Mike Florio, the newly minted CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute, said the Melville corridor is a prime candidate for similar mixed-use redevelopment, especially as companies look to shrink their office footprint with more people working remotely.

“The town listening sessions are important for community engagement and to demonstrate how this area can be effectively utilized as a place where people can live, work and play all in one spot,” Florio said.

Huntington Councilman Sal Ferro says the MEC effort can be a game changer for Huntington and for Long Island in general.

“This is a priority for this administration, and we are all united with this being a priority,” Ferro said. “We need to get this done in order to accomplish a lot of things for the future of Huntington. We have our best infrastructure in Melville, with sewers, and roads, and the expressway, and everything else.”

Meanwhile, Smyth says there are still many issues to be considered, especially the need to ensure that the Melville Fire Department and the area’s other first responders can handle the redevelopment that’s expected to add more than 1,000 new apartments and additional businesses.

“We are approaching this with a clean sheet of paper and there is no preconceived notion of what we’re going to do down here or what the zone change is going to be other than something is going to happen,” the supervisor said. “I think it’s something that we have to plan right and methodically and in granular detail before we rush forward.”

Still, Smyth expects to make progress sooner than later.

“I fully anticipate having a fully definitive plan well before the end of the year,” he said.

Article: https://libn.com/2023/02/02/town-revives-plan-to-rezone-lis-corporate-center-for-live-work-redevelopment/

NCC to become training center for proposed casino resort

Las Vegas Sands and Nassau Community College have agreed to make the college the primary employee training center for the proposed Sands casino/resort at the Nassau Coliseum property. 

The public-private initiative would be contingent on Sands being successful in securing the opportunity to develop its proposed multi-billion-dollar entertainment complex at the Uniondale site. 

The college, part of the State University of New York system, is known for its associate degrees, certificates and workforce development programs in diverse fields of study, including hospitality, culinary arts, business, humanities, theater and technology, according to a joint statement from the school and developer. The collaboration, which will include an internship and experiential learning component for NCC students, would be aimed at supporting sustainable job growth and economic development on Long Island and throughout the New York metropolitan region. 

“The creation of a new industry with thousands of jobs in multiple sectors is a tremendous opportunity not only for our students but for the diverse populations we serve as a community college,” Maria Conzatti, acting president of Nassau Community College, said in the statement. “Enhancing our curriculum with training programs, mentorship, and internship opportunities in conjunction with an industry leader like Sands, provides an opportunity for adult students, career changers, and all community members to be placed on successful career paths.” c

Sands says its hospitality education initiatives span contributions to higher education institutions, scholarship programs, on-property and industry-supported training opportunities for students and hospitality professionals, and mentorship support from company leaders and experts. 

“Our company has a strong track record of partnering with a variety of educational organizations to put people on pathways to success in the hospitality industry and help them build the skills they need to increase their earning power,” Robert G. Goldstein, Sands’ chairman and CEO, said in the statement.  “We are making the same commitment to the Long Island community and have an excellent partner with an aligned vision to do so in working with Nassau Community College. We look forward to investing in people with any skill set or background who have a desire to be part of this exciting new industry planned for Long Island.” 

The collaboration between Sands and Nassau Community College would lead to programs in hotel and casino management, security and surveillance, meetings and banquets, entertainment, and food and beverage, according to the statement. 

Genette Alvarez-Ortiz, acting vice president of academic affairs at NCC, said that the college is currently renovating a free-standing building on its north campus to serve as the home to its Culinary Arts program, which offers the Associate in Occupational Studies degree. The building is expected to be completed in 2024. 

“The college’s programs are designed to educate individuals for a wide-range of jobs in current and emerging fields,” Alvarez-Ortiz said in the statement. “We offer excellent programs for particular skill areas such as food service and nutrition, sales and marketing, cybersecurity and information technology, world languages and cultures, and theater and music.” 

When Sands developed its previously owned resort in Bethlehem, Penn., the company said it had established a similar collaborative relationship with Northampton Community College that included co-development of curriculum to train local workers for resort jobs, on-site student learning opportunities at the resort, coursework taught by Sands representatives, internships and other events and programs. 

In Las Vegas, the company co-founded and continues to support the Sands Center for Professional Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Harrah College of Hospitality, according to the statement. The company says it recently established a $1 million scholarship program to help advance hospitality careers in Singapore in conjunction with its Marina Bay Sands resort, which also regularly hosts, trains and employs hospitality students on site through a variety of developmental programs. 

Article: https://libn.com/2023/01/30/ncc-to-become-training-center-for-proposed-casino-resort/