Macy’s and international development company Brookfield Properties have designed plans for a mixed-use development on the department store’s Manhasset property, a vision that includes three apartment complexes, a full-service hotel, an office building and additional retail and dining space, company officials told local community leaders Wednesday.
The mixed-use development, which they are calling Manhasset Square, is intended to be a new center for the community that enhances the area surrounding the department store. The project would cost over $400 million and require the Town of North Hempstead to approve a number of variances, Brookfield representatives said.
Brookfield would be the owner and operator of all buildings except for Macy’s, which would remain the same size and in the same location.
“There’s a place-making opportunity in Manhasset,” said Chase Martin, senior vice president for mixed-use development at Brookfield Properties. “We want to have that Main Street feel. A place where the community can meet.”
The parties have been collaborating for nearly two years as Macy’s has been evaluating its properties across the country, exploring ways to bring the space around its stores to life, said Macy’s vice president for real estate Chris Erb.
“We’ve got a very robust online presence that we’re looking to strengthen over time, but it’s never going to overtake our brick-and-mortar business,” Erb said. “We recognize we have work to do to continue to strengthen our brick-and-mortar presence and part of that is enlivening the environments around our stores.”
The department store’s Manhasset location is one of the most successful in the country, said Vice President for Development at Brookfield Asset Management Aanen Olsen.
It sits on a 28.3-acre site that Federated Department Stores, which owns Macy’s, purchased from the Whitneys in 1963. Much of the site is an asphalt parking lot. It borders the Terrace Manor neighborhood, Whitney Pond, Northern Boulevard and Community Drive. Nearby are the Greentree estate and North Shore University Hospital.
The Macy’s property includes seven residentially zoned acres behind the department store, which it has no plans to develop on, Olsen said.
The design Macy’s and Brookfield developed includes 355 luxury rental apartments, 2,271 parking spaces, 72,000 square feet of office space and 73,400 square feet of retail. The bulk of the parking would be underground.
Manhasset Square would generate $3.5 million in annual tax revenue, according to Brookfield.
In coming months, Brookfield and Macy’s plan to officially approach the Town of North Hempstead government, which has jurisdiction over the property.
Brookfield Properties has more than $365 billion in assets under management and has developed mixed-use, residential, office and retail complexes around the world. One of its best-known properties in the New York metropolitan area is Brookfield Place, a luxury mall that neighbors the World Trade Center.
When developing mixed-use properties such as the one it plans to create in Manhasset, Brookfield emphasizes livability, implementing social events such as movie screenings, the company representatives said.
“Our secret sauce is making special places happen, so that comes through placemaking, it comes through our attention to detail and it comes through community engagement,” Martin said.
A presentation to the Greater Council of Manhasset Civic Associations held at a space on the Macy’s property Wednesday evening was the company’s first time sharing the plans with members of the community.
Association members offered the developers a variety of initial concerns, including the impact to the school system, water system, adjacent neighborhoods and already existing downtown on Plandome Road.
When looking at an aerial view of the new development, one member was able to point to his house and noted that his neighborhood already has complaints about light and noise with just Macy’s alone.
Manhasset’s downtown has been struggling to hold on to businesses because it doesn’t have sewers, and to have to compete with a whole new downtown would mean its ultimate demise, said secretary Sue Auriemma. Collaboration with the existing community would be crucial, she said.
“There has to be a way that we could work together and improve both at the same time because certainly, a parking lot isn’t doing us any good here,” Auriemma said.