The Village of Floral Park is seeking ideas from outside groups for the future of its historic Centennial Hall while examining whether it could remain a village facility.
A real estate firm, CBRE, last Thursday issued a request for proposals on the village’s behalf soliciting commercial, retail or partly residential plans for the 8,500-square-foot building at the intersection of Tulip and Carnation avenues.
Firms have until Nov. 10 to submit proposals. Meanwhile, the village is evaluating whether it could feasibly maintain Centennial Hall as a public gathering space or community center, said the village administrator, Gerry Bambrick.
“We … think it would be good if our residents who have been thinking about this, who have their proposals for retaining it for a public use … inform the board at that point so that we can get all the ideas on the table at once,” Bambrick said.
Residents at a “visioning session” in May differed on how the building should be used, but agreed development should not be “over-intensive,” Bambrick said.
Many want the village to maintain ownership of the building, or at least leave space available to community groups, said Nadia Holubnyczyj-Ortiz, president of the Hillcrest Civic Association.
“There has to be community space,” Holubnyczyj-Ortiz said. “We don’t have enough and it would reflect that the village cares about what residents’ wants and needs are.”
The village has been working since September 2015 to map the future of the deteriorating hall, first built in 1925 as a Masonic temple and purchased by the village in 2005 for $1.5 million. The Floral Park Historical Society, the last group to occupy it, moved out in March 2015, Bambrick said.
The village in March hired CBRE, a firm with an office in Melville that operates in more than 60 countries, to help develop the request for proposals, or RFP.
The village wants proposals that are “complementary to the already developed neighboring community” of single-family homes, apartments buildings and businesses, according to the RFP.
It favors those that leave room for village use and maintain the building’s iconic Greek-style facade, the RFP says.
Centennial Hall’s location in a business district at one of the entrances to the village means it could be a retail store, office, barber shop or several other kinds of businesses, according to an offering memorandum accompanying the RFP. Single-family apartments would also be allowed above the ground floor.
The village may sell or lease the property, or sell it and lease some portion of it from the buyer for public use, Bambrick said. CBRE will make a 5.5 percent commission on whatever deal is closed, he said.
Bambrick said the village received some proposals early last year for transit-oriented housing at Centennial Hall, located less than three blocks from Floral Park’s Long Island Rail Road station. The village’s first commuter apartment complex is set to be built about a third of a mile away at the former home of Koenig’s Restaurant.
Marc Mullen, vice president of the West End Civic Association and an attorney for the real estate firm Novus Realty, said Centennial Hall would be a “perfect spot” for senior citizen housing.
“There are so many elderly people in Floral Park that want to stay but cannot keep up with the maintenance of a house, so I think it would be a great location for that,” Mullen said.
All proposals will be reviewed by CBRE and the Board of Trustees before they are presented at a public meeting after the Nov. 10 deadline, Bambrick and Trustee Lynn Pombonyo said.
Village officials could reject them all and go forward with its own plan, or re-issue the RFP, Bambrick said.
Holubnyczyj-Ortiz said she worries the 43-day response period was too short. She will ask that it be extended if too few proposals are submitted, she said.
“You don’t buy a car just by looking at one car,” she said.
That would be possible, as the RFP’s terms are flexible and “completely in the hands of the village,” Pombonyo said.
The village thinks the response timeline is “adequate to start getting some really great ideas going,” she said.