West Hempstead Community Support Association
National Wholesale Liquidators Site Re-Development Plan
On September 15, 2020, the West Hempstead Community Support Association (WHCSA) hosted a meeting with the developers of the Heatherwood Luxury Apartments to discuss their new venture in the West Hempstead community in the St. Thomas Catholic School Parking Lot. The development of close to 400 residential units are slated for the blighted National Wholesale Liquidators Site (NWL).
What We Learned at The Meeting
-The site will consist of 3 buildings and an underground parking lot on 9 acres of beautifully, maintained landscaped property.
-The buildings will have various amenities that will include a gym, pool and community space for its tenants.
-Onsite management from the developer who has a track record of longevity with its other properties, they will be the builders and the landlord!
-10% of the units will be affordable in accordance with the law.
-The National Wholesale Liquidator’s site was selected due to its close proximity to transportation and the budding need for rental properties on Long Island. There is a growing market and the developers have seen success in other areas on Long Island.
Questions/Concerns Addressed at The Meeting
Section 8 Housing- As discussed at the meeting, this building is not designated as Section 8 housing. It should be noted that Section 8 is a federally funded subsidized housing program for households that qualify. While the development is not Section 8 housing, the developers, nor any other landlord in the country, allowed to discriminate against potential renters with a Section 8 subsidy. It should also be noted that Section 8 has rent limits and a voucher holder can only rent apartments based on the limits set for their voucher unit size. This means if the rent is higher than their voucher amount, they are not permitted to rent that unit. Heatherwood stated at the meeting that all interested applicants must meet certain criteria to rent within their portfolio which may include credit and background checks. They did express that they are in full compliance with the law and therefore could not discriminate against potential applicants with Section 8 subsidies.
Rents- Heatherwood estimates the rents would range from $1400 to $3000+ for studios to three-bedroom apartments.
Project Timeline- Heatherwood estimates from groundbreaking to completion will be a about 3-year period. The ownership of the property still remains with the current owner and closing on the property (transfer of title) would not take place until all variances and contractual elements are met. (this is called a contingency contract).
Demographic Profile of Renters- Heatherwood states that their apartments are usually rented by households who are typically before and after a single-family home. Meaning small families and empty nesters. Heatherwood stated they are interested in attracting millennials as well and hope the proximity to the railroad and amenities will attract this population as well. Based on the current trends of the West Hempstead School district, they do not foresee an undue burden on the school system. They have already met with the School Board of the WHUFSD.
Parking Spaces- It was mentioned by meeting goers that some of the railroad commuters used the NWL site parking lot for park and ride. Unfortunately, that unauthorized arrangement will not continue once the site is developed, however, Heatherwood is in communication with the LIRR about parking in the area and they will mention the concerns of the residents. Parking at the site for residents will be 1.7 spots per unit and be both below grade and on grade parking.
Taxes- The site will be developed under a Pilot program which means their taxes will start at the current rate and rise during the Pilot. The development of this project will not have an effect on homeowner’s taxes. The Pilot program will phase tax increase in over 20 year, the same program that W130 has.
Vacancy Rate- Heatherwood boasts a high 90% occupancy rate amongst its other properties. Similarly, neighboring West 130 has a 95% occupancy rate (WHCSA verified with the leasing agent).
Aesthetics and Traffic Concerns- Heatherwood stated the apartments will be about the same height as the West 130 apartments. The plans for the site include modern, attractive buildings with well-manicured grounds. Heatherwood also stated they have had traffic studies done and will have garage entrances on Broad St. At the meeting they stated they would take a community member’s suggestion about having entrances on Hempstead Ave. under consideration.
Site Construction Issues- Heatherwood stated if any hazardous conditions are discovered during construction they will be addressed immediately. Heatherwood stated this will be a mixed union and non-union work site and they will be adhering to all labor laws.
Special Accommodations-Heatherwood stated they would be open to discussing ideas with the community such as amenities for senior renters and sabbath elevators, etc.
Retail-The development does not have plans for retail, however, they do have a small swing space that may be used for as a coffee shop or some other small shop. Heatherwood states that with the added residents to the community it will attract business, it has been their experience with their other developments.