The benefits of the redevelopment of Hempstead Village include:
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The revitalization of downtown Hempstead represents the most important redevelopment in the recent history of Long Island. The development firm that is leading the effort is Renaissance Downtowns-UrbanAmerica (RDUA), a partnership between two of the most well respected real estate firms in the nation, providing the Village and its residents with a development team that has both the experience and the capabilities to transform Hempstead’s downtown into a vibrant mixed-use, walkable neighborhood that will provide significant benefits for the entire Hempstead community. RDUA is the designated Master Developer, in contract with the Village within a Public-Private Partnership structure that has seen tremendous success over the last year and looks forward to continued strides in the coming months and years as Hempstead reaps the many benefits of responsible redevelopment.
RDUA is dedicated to a “triple-bottom-line” approach to redevelopment that is centered on the principles of social, economic and environmental responsibility. This philosophy will result in significant local job creation (including a contractually binding Community Benefits Agreement to ensure that jobs are filled by Village residents) and an emphasis on locally-owned, independent businesses. RDUA’s goal is to work with the Village and the community to create a shared vision for downtown Hempstead that will provide millions in net annual tax revenue while providing a range of residential options to suit the needs of existing Hempstead residents.
The redevelopment area (see below) encompasses what has traditionally been Hempstead’s “Central Business District.” Once an economic and cultural hub for the entire region, this area today has over 33% of its property off the tax rolls. There is very little residential activity within the redevelopment boundaries which leads to a lack of an active street life and cohesive retail fabric. By taking a holistic and comprehensive approach to redevelopment that includes the participation of the community, this area will be restored to its rightful place as an economic and social powerhouse that will be the pride not only of Hempstead, but all of Long Island.
RDUA is dedicated to a community-centric, bottom-up approach to redevelopment. The inclusion of the community is an essential component of creating the right development vision. With this in mind, renewhempstead.com was created as Long Island’s first “crowdsourced placemaking” program – a grass roots, community-driven effort that allows local residents to provide their ideas and input on what should be built downtown. This process fosters a sense of inclusion and transparency that is essential for the successful redevelopment of downtown Hempstead. To date, RDUA has conducted dozens of meetings while having an “open door policy” at their mobile office, located at the corner of Columbia and Main Street, providing the community with access and information throughout the endeavor.
Through RDUA’s inclusive approach, a few key issues have come to the attention of the development team, and efforts are underway to address these concerns. Two of the primary issues are sewer and infrastructure upgrades and the promise of local job creation throughout the life of the project. Regarding the former, RDUA was instrumental in obtaining a $5 million grant from New York State for sewer repairs – a figure that represents only the first step toward gaining additional monies from both the State and Federal level, with no financial burden to Village residents nor its businesses. Regarding job creation, RDUA’s Agreement with the Village clearly states that a Community Benefits Agreement that ensures significant local job creation must be in place before any building permit is issued – a true win for the community, and a model for large scale redevelopment that will be followed throughout the region. No residential buildings will be directly affected by the redevelopment and RDUA has worked with private property owners and the local business community to ensure their needs are met during the development process, ensuring that the project benefits residents and businesses without negatively impacting them.
The final redevelopment plan will be a result of RDUA’s partnership with the Village coupled with the involvement of the community. The resulting plans will allow property to adjust to changes in the market while adhering to the principles and guidelines that will be created through the developer’s partnership with the Village. It is expected that shovel ready status will be reached by the end of 2012, allowing for economic development and job creation to begin in the near term future.