Back To The Drawing Board

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Board Forges On With Proposed Building Talks

The Village of Mineola board of trustees continued talks last week from its Nov. 14 public hearing about the proposed four-story mixed use building at 86 and 88 Main St., which would involve retail space on the first floor with residential apartment units above.

The newly updated rendering of the proposed building. (Photo courtesy of Zambrano Design)

The project, which is spearheaded by Freeport-based Zambrano Architectural Design, would involve razing the vacant Buccelli Uomo at 86 Main St. and combining it with the vacant lot at 88 Main St. The building that once stood at 88 Main St. was demolished in 1974.

Despite initial concerns from the board during the first public hearing, this time around the board seemed pleased with the overall changes that were made by the architectural design firm.

“Based on feedback, we pushed back the top partial floor by an additional 10-feet,” said Mineola-based commercial real estate attorney Marco Silva, who represents the owner of the property Joseph Puccio. “It is now fully 20-feet from the front, which also resulted in the loss of one apartment. We are now at 10 apartments rather than 11 just because of the configuration of where the elevator shafts are.”

According to Silva, the rooftop pavilion that was planned as well as elevator access to the roof were also removed based on further feedback. Due to the loss of one apartment unit, the square footage of each apartment was also increased.

“One of the things that I want to point out is the…toothless gap,” said Silva. “We thought that the two buildings on either side of us, which are 90 and 84 [Main St.], were the same height. They are not. So we are lining up with one of those buildings. That’s just the reality of it.”

“It is obvious by these drawings that you listened to us,” said trustee Paul Cusato. “You know what? You turned me around. I love the way this building looks and maybe down the road, this may be the future of Main Street. Maybe this can be expanded to other buildings. I know we have some parking issues, but why not? We have an empty lot and a vacant building. Why not develop it and make Main Street a vibrant area?”

“For me, what I asked for at the [last] hearing, you accomplished that,” said trustee Dennis Walsh. “I asked that you make the rooms larger and you did. I like the difference in the top of the building and the difference around the windows.”

Bob Fox addresses the board. (Photo by Anthony Murray)

When the board opened for public comment, Bob Fox, who owns the women’s clothing store Fox’s, which is located on Main Street, said that he is mainly concerned about the parking situation once all of the construction projects in the downtown area are finished, suggesting that the developments be done in stages instead of all at once.

“It’s not the development that’s going to cripple us,” said Fox. “What we need and Joe [Puccio] is not providing, is the additional parking. That has to come first and without it, we’re done.”

Towards the end of the hearing, the board asked Silva how long construction would be on the proposed building.

“By the time everything is in place, it takes 12 to 18 months before construction can actually get started,” responded Silva.

Deputy mayor Paul Pereira said that he liked the project and reminded the audience that the proposed building does not have any Industrial Development Agency (IDA) or payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) incentives—increasing the village’s tax base and bringing more money into the village and schools with zero impact to the school district.

“If we do not approve this and we delay it, there’s probably going to be a different board sitting up here,” said trustee George Durham. “At the time that he’s [Puccio] going to have to come back and try and put this building here, we have a board right now that is pro-downtown and making it a walkable area. We don’t know what’s going to happen four, five or 10 years from now.”

Mayor Scott Strauss closed the public hearing to reserve the board’s decision to a later time.

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