One week after marking the celebrated demolition of West Hempstead's blighted Courtesy Hotel to pave the way for beautiful commuter friendly apartments, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray highlighted that plan while serving as a panelist during the annual Local Government Leadership Institute Symposium on May 19 at Hofstra University. The panel on which Murray participated was entitled: "Government Leaders and Civic Associations Partnership for Growth."
Addressing an audience that included elected officials, developers and civic leaders, Supervisor Murray offered some words of advice on developing larger construction projects based on the town's experience with the Courtesy Hotel: perseverance, thinking outside the box and maintaining trust and mutual respect.
"In the end, this project got done because we all dealt with each other honestly from a standpoint of genuine respect," said Murray. "The sincere and honest advocacy of West Hempstead Community Support Association President Rosalie Norton was the foundation for a successful conclusion to redevelopment challenges at the site."
The New York State Office of the State Comptroller sponsored the Institute in partnership with Hofstra University's Wilbur F. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies. The theme of this year's Institute, which featured an opening speech by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, was "Creating Tax Revenue Through Sustainable Economic Growth."
Supervisor Murray appeared on the morning panel with Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko, Mill Creek Residential Trust Managing Director Maria Rigopoulos, West Hempstead Civic Association President Rosalie Norton, Kelly Development Group President Michael Kelly and Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Association President George Schramm. The discussion was moderated by Andrew A. SanFilippo, Executive Deputy Comptroller for the Office of State and Local Government Accountability in the New York State Office of the State Comptroller.
Supervisor Murray recounted the story behind the redevelopment of the Courtesy property, which was facilitated as a result of the town board's creation of a transit-oriented zone, a prime example of cooperation between elected officials and the community to reach a common goal. In this case, the West Hempstead community eagerly awaits the opening of a splendid development that includes 150 "train commuter friendly" apartments adjacent to the West Hempstead Long Island Rail Road Station.
"The culmination of years of work brought an end to the reign of terror of West Hempstead's reviled Courtesy Hotel," Supervisor Murray said. "I want to thank Councilmembers Ed Ambrosino, James Darcy and Dorothy Goosby for aggressively assisting the neighbors of West Hempstead to get rid of the Courtesy Hotel and deliver on the promise of progressive development."
The apartments will be the centerpieces of Mill Creek Residential Trust's enhancement of the 3-acre property into a residential development that is rich in amenities and luxury features. It spells the end of the Courtesy Hotel, a site known for frequent police activity and criminal arrests. The attractive development adds needed rental housing that is geared to young people who will commute to the city and assist the town in keeping young people on Long Island. It will be environmentally conscious by reducing the number of cars on the roadways while also being a clean energy LEEDs-certified building.
Construction on the new development is expected to commence shortly after the demolition of the Courtesy, within about five weeks. The end product will be the culmination of hard work and perseverance between the Town, the West Hempstead community and Mill Creek.
"A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you don't make the turn," Supervisor Murray said. "Even when it looks like the odds are daunting, forge ahead! Thanks to the hard work of members of the town board, Rosalie Norton of the West Hempstead Community Support Association and a developer with vision, we were able to make the turn at the bend in the road, resulting in a great victory for West Hempstead."