1. Will there be jobs? Are these jobs going to go to Hempstead residents?
The redevelopment of Downtown Hempstead will provide thousands of construction and permanent jobs, including preference for local residents where possible. Renaissance Downtowns-UrbanAmerica (RDUA) is working with the Village and local organizations (such as EOC and ABBA amongst others) to create programs that are designed to ensure significant local representation within the jobs created by the redevelopment.
Discussions with these organizations along with information gathered during RDUA’s community meetings has led the effort to detail in writing RDUA’s commitment to local job creation through the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). The CBA provides assurance to the community that the redevelopment will indeed provide careers for Hempstead residents in a process that will be overseen by RDUA as well as the Village. Mayor Hall has emphasized the importance of creating a CBA as a contractual obligation, and RDUA’s Development Agreement with the Village states that there won’t be any construction without the promise of local job creation formalized through the written CBA.

2. Will my taxes be affected due to this redevelopment?
By creating a vibrant and sustainable mixed-use environment in downtown Hempstead, there will be significant additional tax revenues that will reduce the tax burden on residents and business alike. While it is preliminary to know just what the net tax benefit will be, the Village estimated nearly $7 million per year during their previous planning efforts. 
As the plan is finalized over the coming months, independent studies will determine the expected net tax benefits, and this information will be available for the community to review.
RDUA is well aware of the concerns of local residents considering the significant number of parcels that are off the tax roles. Within the redevelopment area, over one-third of the properties are not currently contributing any tax revenue to the Village, creating an additional tax burden on residents and businesses within the Village. RDUA will provide the ability for mixed-use development throughout the downtown, including on those parcels that are not currently on the tax roll, resulting in significant economic benefits to the Village, the School District and the community.

3. What is RDUA’s position on PILOTs? (Payment In Lieu of Taxes)
RDUA has not asked for any such assistance and has emphasized their dedication to creating a development framework that will result in significant net positive benefits to the Village and the School District. While the administration of PILOTs is beyond the developer’s control, by creating a comprehensive redevelopment vision, including input from local residents to ensure the right mix of uses are created, an economic basis will be created that will lessen and ideally eliminate the need for PILOTs in the future, including efforts that have nothing to do with the downtown revitalization.
Currently, over 33% of properties in the downtown are off the tax roles. That presents a tremendous burden for home and property owners who must carry that burden, and it also prevents new businesses from opening because they can not afford to pay the tax bill. The redevelopment of downtown will provide an influx of tax revenue, decreasing the existing tax burden while making Hempstead more attractive for businesses who want to invest in the community.
As this is a complex, but very important issue, we will continue to host discuss this in the PILOTs forum.

4. What is RDUA’s priority regarding existing local businesses? Will existing businesses be forced to close?RDUA would like to meet with all current business owners to ensure that their needs, goals and ambitions are considered throughout this development process. Small locally-owned business is the cornerstone of the American economy and the cornerstone of the successful revitalization of a downtown. These businesses hire local employees support local organizations and enhance the local economy. To further understand why it is such a priority to RDUA, please read “Why the Triple Bottom Line Is So Important to Hempstead’s Economy and Local Businesses“. RDUA will help all existing businesses to remain in business find temporary or permanent relocation opportunities and identify possibilities for additional funding for expansion if desired.

5. Will RDUA be paying their development fees to the Village of Hempstead and not be receiving any tax breaks?RDUA will be paying for the entire planning process, without any burden to the Village nor its taxpayers. RDUA has not asked  the Village for any tax breaks and is committed to providing the Village and the community with a revitalization vision that, when implemented, will provide millions of dollars in net annual tax relief to the Village, the School, Residents and Businesses. In regard to development fees, the acquisition methodology for Village owned will be laid out in the Land Disposition Agreement that will be created and signed by RDUA and the Village in the coming months.

6. Will there be any affordable housing?The goal at RDUA is to provide a true mixed-income residential environment, providing mixed-income market rate residential options to address the needs of a full range of Hempstead residents. Most government-subsidized affordable housing is determined by access to local state and federal subsidies and tax breaks which are becoming less available as the Nation’s economy worsens. Developers are now taking a different approach called “affordability by design” to address the mixed-income environment.
RDUA believes that downtowns are places that belong to everyone including residents and visitors of all economic strata. This philosophy, coupled with RDUA’s principles of the Triple Bottom Line Statement will help ensure that there are residential options built to suit the needs of Hempstead residents that span the full economic spectrum, including those who need attainably-priced units.

7. What housing options will current renters have as property values start to improve?
The best way to provide current renters with the means to afford living in a revitalized downtown hinges upon two key items.
- The first is the necessity to ensure a full range of mixed-income housing to tend to the needs of residents at all income levels. For those who are looking for attainably-priced units, the best manner in which to provide rental and for sale units that are affordable is to utilize proper planning principles. For example, smaller units that offer common amenities and are located within a vibrant downtown can cost as much per square foot as a more expensive unit but by designing the units in a more efficient manner, they provide the same quality of housing (or better) at a lower monthly rental rate. Also, by utilizing shared parking principles and other shared infrastructure, the cost for each unit per month can be dramatically less than a traditional apartment or condo found on Long Island.
- The second aspect to ensuring that Village residents are afforded the opportunity to rent or own within their revitalized downtown are the immense economic benefits that local residents will enjoy through the creation of a mixed-use community. The thousands of construction and permanent jobs, with priority where possible for Hempstead residents, will provide local individuals and families with well-paying careers, enabling them to participate in the revitalization not only in the workforce, but as residents as well. Simply put, by creating thousands of new jobs while uplifting current and future businesses (retail and office alike), many current residents will have more money to spend, including the ability to afford rental or for sale units within a revitalized downtown.

8. Are you going to improve the sewers?
Renaissance recognizes that there is a significant need for infrastructure upgrades in the Village, including the sewer system, that affect not just downtown, but many neighborhoods. The reality is, if the system is not able to handle the additional residential units and businesses that would be created by the development of downtown, construction will not occur.
The need for sewer repairs was a theme echoed by a number of community leaders, stakeholders and residents. As a result, RDUA worked diligently to gain access to sewer funding, resulting in a $5 million grant for sewer repairs and upgrades that was awarded by New York State – the largest grant awarded to a single redevelopment project. RDUA will look to leverage this initial batch of funding with additional state and federal dollars in an effort to continue to full its promise of upgrading the sewer system which will benefit not only the downtown, but the entire community.

9. How long will it take for this redevelopment to be completed?
RDUA, in partnership with the Village, has made tremendous strides over the last year. The project is on schedule, with development-ready status expected sometime in 2012. Sewer repairs could commence as early as the summer or fall of 2012.
The redevelopment of downtown Hempstead will take place in phases that, in total, could last 7-10 years in total, although initial phases would be completed within the next 3-5 years providing a vibrant and economically sustainable downtown environment in the near-term future.

10. How will this redevelopment affect transit?
The key to transit, be it rail or bus, is ridership. The key to ridership is having people live and/or work near transit lines. Hempstead happens to have one of, if not the best intermodal transit system in the region with its LIRR station and the Hub for Nassau’s bus system. 
By providing for significant mixed-use development in close proximity to these transit lines ridership will increase, providing a rationale for increased/improved service. Renaissance has already conducted high level meetings with the MTA and the LIRR and this partnership will benefit the Village its residents and its businesses as a true Transit Oriented Redevelopment is created in Downtown.

11. How will this project benefit the youth?
There are numerous ways in which the redevelopment of downtown Hempstead will benefit the younger generation. For those of working age, thousands of jobs will be created – retail, entrepreneurial, front office and back office amongst others. This will provide career advancement opportunities for many of Hempstead’s young workforce.
In addition, there will be multiple public amenities available for youth, including public squares, entertainment options and cultural offerings.
Another benefit will be the creation of a safe, walkable neighborhood that fosters a true sense of community for those living downtown, and other Hempstead residents that will utilize a revitalized downtown as a true amenity for youth and adults alike.

12. What will a project of this magnitude cost homeowners in additional taxes?
The redevelopment of downtown will be of no cost to homeowners in additional taxes. To the contrary, by creating a sustainable mixed-use environment that includes significant residential and commercial components, there will be a reduction in the tax burden felt by current homeowners. In addition, mixed-use redevelopment results in significant increases to property values, which will benefit homeowners throughout the Village.

13. Will the infrastructure be repaired before you begin building?
Simply put, if the infrastructure that exists is not able to support the redevelopment, building will not occur. So yes, where it is necessary to improve/fix the infrastructure, it will be done before building commences. It should be noted that by planning and implementing a large scale redevelopment in downtown Hempstead, the community gains a significant advantage in attracting State and Federal funding, offering residents a real opportunity to garner much needed infrastructure dollars that would not be available without such a redevelopment effort.
In fact, as stated above, RDUA was instrumental in the Village’s procurement of a $5 Million grant from New York State to begin sewer and infrastructure upgrades which will commence in 2012.

14. Will you use Eminent Domain?
RDUA takes a partnership approach whereby we work with existing property owners rather than looking to buy them outright nor use Eminent Domain. It should be noted that as a private entity, RDUA does not nor ever will have the power of Eminent Domain, however by working in this partnership approach, we feel that the potential for Eminent Domain is nearly eliminated because there will be clear economic benefits for current property owners to work in conjunction with RDUA and the Village to implement a well conceived mixed-use vision for downtown.