Plaza West Development Plans Submitted to Freeport Officials
By PATRICK WHITTLE
Freeport is reviewing six redevelopment bids for the Plaza West building, one of the village's longest-standing and largest eyesores.
The six-story Art Deco bank building on Sunrise Highway, was built in 1929 and was once the tallest structure in Nassau and Suffolk counties. But the building, now owned jointly by the village and the Freeport Community Development Agency, has been vacant since the early 1980s.
All of the proposals include residential development and two also include a hotel, village attorney Howard Colton said.
The 17,000-square-foot flatiron-style building originally housed First National Bank. Today it's boarded up, standing at one end of a large vacant lot just south of the Freeport LIRR station.
The CDA and village board of trustees will have to approve any redevelopment plan, said G. Dewey Smalls, a member of the CDA board.
"We were very clear that we were looking for transit-oriented development, especially near the Long Island Rail Road," Smalls said. "This piece is going to be a catalyst."
Village officials would not provide the details in the proposals, citing a clause in the state Freedom of Information Law that allows the village to withhold information if it would compromise a contract negotiation.
Three of the developers -- Trinity Financial Inc. of Boston, Mill Creek of Wilton, Conn., and Conifer of Rochester -- want to turn the property into residential housing with some commercial space, Colton said.
Brisa Builders Corp. of Brooklyn and Georgia Green of Jericho want to build a hotel with residential and commercial space, Colton said. Renaissance Downtowns of Plainview is proposing a residential-only development, he said.
The village is negotiating with all of the developers and met with one Thursday, Colton said without providing a name. The proposals could change with the negotiations, he said.
Selling the property had been tied up in a lawsuit filed against the village by Manhattan developer Time Equities Inc., which once sought to convert the building into apartments. The lawsuit stemmed from the village's termination of Time Equities' contract to redevelop the property, village officials have said.
The case was settled in April, which freed up the property, village officials have said.
Meetings with the developers will give the village "a much better idea of what we have and what we're going to do with it," village trustee Jorge Martinez said.
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