GN Plaza could get new building

Andrew Benjamin

The Village of Great Neck Plaza could soon be adding to its affordable housing initiative with a new five-story apartment and commercial complex to be developed by Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President Hooshang Nematzadeh along Grace Avenue.

The building would take over a Citibank ATM kiosk and would be constructed in accordance with an amendment to the village’s B business district to allow buildings with retail establishment on the first floor and residential dwellings above, Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender said during last Wednesday’s Village of Great Neck Plaza Board of Trustees meeting.

Nematzadeh and Manhattan architect Sandor Weiss last week presented their plans and diagrams to the public and board. 

The building would be 52-feet high and would have 45 one- and two- bedroom units and 90 parking spaces for residents, according to their presentations. 

Retail stores would occupy the lower lever and a non-commercial drop-off area would be located in the back with an area on the lower level for commercial deliveries, according to their proposal.

Celender opened the meeting by commending the proposal.

“This is very exciting that someone has finally looked at that code and come forward with a project that looks to enhance our village,” Celender said.

One point of contention was the angular look of the building. The drawings show the sides of the building jutting out with very sharp angles.

Trustee Gerald Schneiderman praised the concept, pointing out that the drop-off area not being on Grace Avenue alleviated traffic problems, but said that the design could be changed. 

“I would like something that blends more with the neighborhood,” he said.

Celender also brought up the height of the building. While there is not height restriction for buildings, she said, “we have to provide some input into the height whether the 52 feet is a doable amount without a variance.”

“It’s sharp the way it’s presented,” Celender commenting on the angles. “Soften it a bit. The angles are a little bit severe.”

Nemat agreed and said he and Weiss would “soften it up.”

When asked if any part of the building would be into the sidewalk Nemat assured the board it would not happen. 

“Your sidewalk will be exactly where it is. And not even an inch will be encroaching into the sidewalk,” he said.

Resident Michael Deluccia wasn’t supportive of the new building. 

“First of all we are not living in Manhattan. I think to put a 45-unit apartment in the middle of Grace… I think across the street we have a one, two-story historic building, to overshadow it with a five-story apartment building, you’re taking away from the village,” he said.

Celender disagreed with the assessment. 

“The point was to allow new development come in, fill in spaces here, not doing it down on Great Neck Road, not doing it on Cuter Mill. We encouraged this zoning because we haven’t had any infill development in the B district,” she responded.

Resident Terry Eckstein supported the concept but like the board had problems with the design. 

“I think that the design is a little too extroverted and a little bit too much out of the context [with the neighborhood]… These angles kind of disturb me. It’s very off-putting,” Eckstein said.

The board said by next meeting in September the developers should come in with new plans with a reworked concept focusing in on the façade and height.

Construction of a six-story, 94-unit Lalezarian Properties apartment building at 245-265 Great Neck Road is nearing completion. The building will have 19 “affordable” housing units reserved for county first responders when completed. 

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Andrew Benjamin

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