While plans for the RXR Glen Isle Waterfront Revitalization Project in Glen Cove move ahead, local leaders are continuing efforts to recognize the venture as one that will help the city transform its harbor area into a mixed-use community as well as spur its economy.
The project was recently named as a honoree for this year's Vision Long Island Smart Growth Awards. RXR-Glen Isle is one of seven organizations that will be recognized at the ninth annual luncheon, which will be held on June 18 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury at 11:30 a.m.
Vision is a non-profit organization that promotes the implementation of smart growth civic projects on Long Island as well as government policies that affect its counties, according to its website. Smart growth is a theory that pushes for, among other things, the creation of transit-oriented and walkable downtown areas as well as mixed-use development in revitalization and expansion projects.
Vision's Executive Director Eric Alexander, who organized the event in 2002, explained that a special committee of board members select the honorees each year based on how well their work satisfies the standards of the categories and how the work incorporates other principles espoused by Vision.
The redevelopment project is under Vision's "Creates a mix of uses" category for its combination of commercial, professional, and residential property in a single vicinity. The project, which is aiming to give a vacant area a needed facelift, is expected to feature, among other things, condominiums, offices, restaurants and retail as well as a cultural arts district.
"It is a blighted area that has needed revitalization," Alexander said.
Alexander cited additional qualifications that led to the project's selection as a honoree including how its design compliments the anticipated Glen Cove Ferry Terminal and Boat Basin and the existing downtown area as well as how it addresses concerns over traffic and preservation of open space.
Last year, Glen Cove was honored in two categories, one for the ferry terminal and another for the Avalon Bay apartment complex on Pratt Boulevard. This year's award will mark the city's fifth honor in total.
City officials said the award is significant because it reinforces that Glen Cove is moving in the right direction to transform a former Brownfield area into a place that is bustling with business and pedestrian traffic.
The project is a $1 billion property remediation and development venture that has been a collaborative effort between the city and RXR-Glen Isle Partners, a private group of developers, architects and consultants who have joined forces to develop the land.
"So many people have played a role, hundreds of agencies, so it's nice that it is being recognized by an important group like Vision Long Island," said Kelly Morris, director of the Glen Cove Community Development Agency.
Matthew Frank, the Executive Vice President of RexCorp Realty (RXR) and another project manager, said his company is pleased to have been selected as a Vision honoree this year, especially because it has joined a development effort to revitalize the city's waterfront.
"We are very proud to be a recipient of this prestigious award from Long Island's leaders in the smart growth movement," Frank said in a statement. "Our development team has worked very closely with Mayor Suozzi and his team to develop a plan for the project that incorporates smart growth principles to create a great waterfront public amenity, which will greatly enhance the economy and aesthetics of Glen Cove in an intelligent and sustainable fashion."
Mayor Ralph Suozzi explained that projects like the waterfront and the ferry terminal grew from a foundation laid in the city's Master Plan — which, he said, was 55 years in the making — where the restructuring of zoning laws is requested in order to accommodate new approaches toward development of the city.
"Mixed-use makes the most sense," Suozzi said. "... It maximizes potential."
"That's the whole point," added Morris, who is the city's project manager for the waterfront development. "The project is a progressive, modern plan around zoning."
Suozzi also described how representatives of the three primary interests — environmental, municipal, and entrepreneurial — have discovered common ground in the leftovers of the industrial revolution on the waterfront.
"It's taken decades to get the alignment that's happening now, to get that traction," he said.