Millbrook Apartments developers pursue parking, height waivers for project

Millbrook Apartments developers pursue parking, height waivers for project
A digital rendering of the proposed Millbrook Apartments changes shows the addition of new buildings and a change to building exteriors. (Photo from Newman Design Architects)

Representatives from North Shore Millbrook LLC presented an overview of its plans for upgrading the 119-apartment community in seeking a waiver for parking and building height on Tuesday night, with some residents expressing concern over the plans.

Currently there are 119 apartments, and 34 units would be demolished under the proposal, representatives said, meaning 85 of the original apartments would remain to be integrated with the erection of three new buildings containing 101 units total.

This translates to a net gain of 67 apartment units, which would mean 186 units would be on the property.

The proposed four-story north building would have 59 apartment units, according to plans, with 32 one-bedroom apartments, 11 two-bedroom apartments and 16 three-bedroom apartments.

The four-story south building would have 27 units, including 11 one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedroom apartments, while the three-story west building would have 15 units, 13 of which are two bedrooms. The other two units are one-bedroom apartments.

Additionally, representatives said they plan to construct underground parking facilities, upgrade building facades, install new roofs and windows, and change landscaping. There would also be a fitness center, recreational area, a pool and upgrades to HVAC systems.

“This is not just to build three buildings,” Paul Bloom, a legal representative for North Shore Millbrook Apartments, said on Tuesday.

The applicant is requesting a waiver to reduce the parking requirement from 375 spaces under current village code to 314 spaces to reflect the current parking ratio at Millbrook.

The majority of these spaces – 293 of 314 – would be underground.

The developer is also seeking a height waiver to allow for the construction of four-story buildings under incentive zoning.

Some residents of Millbrook Court expressed concern over the scale of the renovations, which representatives said would likely take 27 months, with one woman asking how the residents “would survive this.”

Patrick Leddy, a resident of Millbrook Court, expressed concern about flooding and flushing issues, noting that the area is “low lying” like the Versailles Court area. He also could be heard saying “it’s too much,” in regards to the proposed renovations.

Brian Newman, of Newman Design Group, said the developers intend to take care of piping issues to improve flow during construction.

A parking lot on the south side was also roped off from use, according to residents and developer representatives, leading to a consolidation of parking on the north side.

Bloom said it “made more sense to consolidate the parking in one area” in anticipation of the demolition to take place at the south building, which would be the first to go down, since tenants in the affected 34 units have largely been relocated to other rent-stabilized homes.

“They didn’t lose their parking,” Bloom said of other residents living at Millbrook. ”Since we do not have the same number of tenants and the same number of vehicles that need to park on the site today, there was no need to maintain two half … parking lots.”

Mayor Pedram Bral and others questioned the need to “rope off” the parking lot, given that demolition has not yet been approved.

Ultimately, Millbrook representatives said they would re-open the parking lot within a week or so.

When asked about the expected cost of the development and if the funds are there to finance it, Bloom said the cost is irrelevant and that plans would not be presented if the owners were not prepared to make the investment.

Andrew Kraus, who is managing public relations for the developers, later said that the owners estimate their investment in Great Neck would be about $25 million and benefit present tenants, future residents and the Middle Neck Road corridor.

Millbrook Court’s owners are currently in “active discussions” with four families remaining in the units to be demolished and expect “to reach amicable agreements with those tenants,” Kraus said.

Peter Bee, the village attorney, and village Clerk-Treasurer Joe Gill said there are a number of “regulatory issues” that need to be resolved with Nassau County and the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

Consequently, Bee said the village can’t make any determinations on waivers or adopt site plan and architectural review until SEQRA review is complete and the Nassau County Planning Commission has reviewed the project.

The board set the next hearing date for the North Shore Millbrook Apartments development for June 5.

“It is theoretically possible for things to have come together by June 5,” Bee said, but added that this is unlikely to happen.

Project documents suggest that changes to Millbrook Court have been planned since at least 2015. The general concept of the project was first presented to the board in January.

This proposal is separate from and unrelated to the nearby proposed Clover Drive development, which seeks to build 11 homes on roughly three acres of land bordering the villages of Great Neck and Great Neck Estates.

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