• 12.07.22

    NEWSDAY: Mixed-use project to revitalize downtown Baldwin gets town board approval

By Grant Parpan

The revitalization of downtown Baldwin, an effort that began more than a decade ago, took two significant steps forward Tuesday.

The Grand at Baldwin, a $100 million mixed-use project proposed for Grand Avenue, received site plan and other necessary approvals from the Hempstead Town Board, which also set a public hearing for a second housing proposal along the distressed corridor.

“The community has been looking to revamp and do some great projects here for years,” Town Supervisor Don Clavin said. “It’s all coming together.”

The Grand at Baldwin will bring 215 rental apartments and 5,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space to a vacant parking lot south of Sunrise Highway and adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station. The proposal from Breslin Realty Development Corp. is the first project approved for the Baldwin mixed-use overlay district, which was created to give the town oversight as revitalization efforts move forward.

Now the town board can turn its attention to a second proposal for the overlay district. PGD Baldwin Commons is a $16 million four-story, 33,500-square-foot-building with 33 units — 27 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom — proposed for Merrick Road. Those apartments would all be reserved for tenants making up to 60% of the median area income.

The first town board public hearing on the project will be at 10 a.m. on Jan. 10.

Both projects were beneficiaries of a $10 million grant awarded to Baldwin in 2019 through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, with The Grand receiving $2 million and Baldwin Commons securing $850,000.

Community groups hope the projects will bring new residents to the area to benefit existing and proposed businesses.

Baldwin Civic Association President Darien Ward said his organization has pushed hard for revitalization and he’s happy to see both projects making their way through the town.

“It’s a good step forward,” Ward said. “We’re moving in a positive direction.”

Elisabetta Coschignano, an attorney for Breslin, said the developers must now receive engineering approvals from other agencies and they hope to break ground in the next “three to six months.”

“I think you’re going to see a huge improvement,” she said. “The residents and the community as a whole will benefit.”

The units at The Grand at Baldwin would range in price from $2,550 per month for one of 46 studio apartments to $3,500 monthly for the 31 two-bedroom units. It would be $2,700 to 2,800 per month to rent one of the 138 one-bedroom units. A total of 22 of those units would be offered at a reduced price for income-eligible tenants.

At public hearings in October and November, residents of neighboring Harrison Avenue expressed concern about traffic from the project, but the developers revised the plans to require anyone exiting the development to head north toward Sunrise Highway, away from residences.

Town and civic leaders praised the developers Tuesday for working with the community to make the necessary changes to the plan.

“This is a long time coming for Baldwin,” said Councilman Chris Carini.

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