The Roslyn Board of Trustees heard a special presentation Tuesday night from a Roslyn resident interested in renovating a local shopping center into a mixed-use building with dozens of rental apartments.
Jerry Karlik of Roslyn said he came to the meeting with permission of the current owners of 281 through 301 Warner Ave., a retail development across from the Roslyn Long Island Rail Road station.
“The consensus is the highest and best use for the [Warner Avenue] site is a mixed-use development consisting of residential apartments over retail and parking,” Karlik said. “Other uses like standalone retail, traditional offices and medical offices do not make any economic sense at this location.”
Kralik’s proposal is for approximately 60 one- and two-bedroom apartments on three floors above one 13,000-square-foot floor of retail space, and it would occupy “basically the same footprint that exists there today,” he said.
Kralik said many villages, such as Great Neck, Mineola and Port Washington, have had success with revitalizing downtown areas by developing transit-oriented developments near train stations, attracting both young adults looking for a short commute to New York City and empty nesters looking to downsize.
“There have been initiatives across the country and Long Island to develop housing near transportation,” Kralik said. “This helps to revitalize downtown areas by repurposing outdated, underutilized, and in many cases, vacant property, attracting young people as well as empty nesters by offering affordable alternatives in an increasingly expensive area.”
Kralik said expected rent for the apartments would be $2,500 for a one-bedroom apartment and $4,300 for a two-bedroom.
Deputy Mayor Marshall Bernstein said he was especially concerned with the parking, and Kralik said the site would house approximately 104 parking spaces both at ground level and underground.
“It would not go over well with commuters if a large influx of new people started parking there,” Bernstein said. “It’d be quite important to have adequate parking on site for these people.”
Trustee Craig Westergard said he is concerned about Roslyn maintaining it’s quaint, historic appearance and atmosphere, and cited the Chalet Luxury Apartments located next to the retail center as one of the worst developments in the village.
“I understand what you’re saying, but there’s a lot of this development going on around Long Island and it’s accommodating young people, and we need that, but we have to look at it from the standpoint of what we do here, and that’s preserve this historic quality,” Westergard said.
Trustee Sarah Oral, however, said she disagreed with the notion that to maintain the historic feel of the village, new development was unnecessary.
“If historic means 1940 brick construction, then yes,” Oral said. “The beautiful, historic sections of the village are the parts people envision as Roslyn. Nobody thinks of Bo Bo Kitchen as part of the village. I think that having some kind of defining feature near the railroad would make Roslyn a destination in and of itself.”
Village Attorney John Gibbons said a zoning change for the building would have to be approved before any further action could be taken, and Mayor John Durkin said he expected the potential traffic flow with no traffic light near the retail center would be a concern for the village.
“I think what we’d have to look at is traffic-wise, can we handle the intensity,” Durkin said. “It is a run-down kind of area and could use some revitalization, but we have to be careful of it being overrun by more and more development. We have to be careful how we do it.”