Author Archives: Renaissance Downtowns

About Renaissance Downtowns

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Renaissance Downtowns

Concept Plans for Downtown Huntington Station

renaissance downtowns huntington stationThe Renaissance Downtowns implementation process began after a year of community outreach and the submission of our Huntington Station Development Strategy, which was unanimously approved by the Town of Huntington Board on June 4, 2013.** Subsequently, we matched Source the Station ideas with concepts for parts of the development area. While developing these concepts for our immediate opportunity sites, Renaissance Downtowns confirmed that while most things could be developed with as of right zoning, a special hospitality permit was needed in order to plan (and hopefully build) a hotel. On February 2014, the Town of Huntington Board also unanimously approved a special hotel permit to be added to the C-6 overlay in Huntington Station. The addition of this special permit allows ANY developer to plan, apply, and potentially build a hotel, and allowed Renaissance Downtowns to move forward planning a boutique hotel.

Over the last 6 months or so, we have been in the process of technical planning for our four immediate opportunity sites in Huntington Station, which include the following uses: a boutique hotel and office development, retail space, apartments over storefronts at Gateway Plaza, and the potential for artists lofts and live-work/gallery space (see graphic to the left). While we focus on these immediate opportunity sites along New York Avenue, we are continuing our infrastructure analyses in order to then potentially expand development and revitalization. Renaissance Downtowns also began the SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) process for the above 4 sites and the Columbia Terrace site, a Veterans Condo project, which is a Town of Huntington CDA project that Renaissance Downtowns assisted with in planning. The anticipation is that Columbia Terrace breaks ground by the end of 2014 and that additional projects could potentially begin construction in mid to late 2015.

Finally, our commitment to the Huntington Station community continues with the on-going CBA process, our support of local organizations and businesses, seeding entrepreneurship and continuing the crowdsourcing process through Source the Station.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to our Source the Station office by phone at (631) 629-4660, by email at andrea@sourcethestation.com,amalia@sourcethestation.com, or loretta@sourcethestation.com, or in person at 1266 New York Avenue, Huntington Station, NY 11746.

If you'd like to discuss this more at length in terms of development, please call Renaissance Downtowns at (516) 433-9000 or email ldallaris@renaissancedowntowns.com .

In case you can’t see the numbers above, the key is as follows:

1: Hotel-Office-Structured Parking
2: Columbia Terrace/Veteran’s Condos
3S: Live Work Units w/ Parking
3N: Artists Residences Art Gallery & Plaza
4: Retail/Office
5: Retail stores under studio & 1 BR apartments

** For background information on our Huntington Station project, please visit the project page.

Renaissance selected as master developer in Riverside, NY

rr_logo_blogOn April 16, 2014, Renaissance Downtowns signed a contract with the Town of Southampton, New York to be the master developer for the Riverside area, after being selected by the Town in December 2013 through their request for qualifications. The area has suffered from high vacancy, crime and poverty rates, with limited commercial development, public transportation and public space.

Renaissance Downtowns partnered with CSPM Group to provide a forward-thinking community engagement process known as crowdsourced placemaking to ensure the voices of the community are heard. One of the first steps was formally establishing the community-driven initiative, named Riverside Rediscovered by local participants at Renaissance’s first community meeting in May. It’s purpose is to represent the local community in shaping Riverside as a vibrant, inspiring destination that is based on the triple bottom line of being economically, socially and environmentally beneficial. Riverside Rediscovered uses a number of strategies to involve and capture the resident’s input to inform the Riverside Realization Action Plan that the Town requires Renaissance Downtowns to submit for approval.

Beginning In August, Siris Barrios, the community liaison managing Riverside Rediscovered, met with community leaders and local residents to begin to understand their collective values and what their visions are for the future of Riverside.

Hempstead Update Spring 2014

hempstead plazaRenaissance Downtowns-Urban America has been working with Renew Hempstead on a number of new and ongoing initiatives, as we approach groundbreaking for the first phase of construction for the Village’s downtown revitalization. The first phase will include 336 market rate units to be located at Cooper Street, within a short walk to the Village’s transit center.

With feedback from the Renew Hempstead community, Renaissance is working to provide a range of residential options within the first phase, with an eye toward the wants and needs of existing Hempstead residents. Currently, the development team is working on both the look and feel of the building along with unit size and design while also finalizing financing for this important first phase of construction. This phase will provide modern, amenitized living within downtown Hempstead and will act as a catalyst for additional development activity to occur. More details about the first phase will be available shortly as the project works its way through the public site plan review process. It should be noted that this development will abide by the Community Benefits Agreement signed by Renaissance and the Village, ensuring the participation of local individuals and contractors during construction.

As plans for Phase I are finalized, Renaissance has been working with the Village, Nassau County and the State to address sewer issues which are all to prevalent both within Hempstead and throughout the County. These efforts are a direct result of the planned development of activities in the form of a $5 million grant provided by the State of New York. Renaissance would like to thank the Mayor and his administration for working in a true partnership to address this urgent issue. In fact, the construction of the first Phase of the development will reduce the impact from large rain events through the use of innovative technologies that will alleviate existing conditions that result in overflow. This is a true win-win for the Village and its neighboring communities.

Finally, Renaissance welcomes Dennis Jones, the new President of the Chamber of Commerce and wishes past President Al Forde the best of luck and many thanks for his efforts over the past couple of years. We look forward to engaging with Renew Hempstead and Mr. Jones in our ongoing effort to work with the business community and position local entrepreneurs for success as the development gets underway, bringing in significant new spending dollars for the Hempstead Village business community.

Why is the Unified Development Approach so important for downtowns?

Suburban development has been historically piecemeal and not necessarily conscientious of surrounding economic, social, and environmental factors. However, when it comes to redeveloping community downtowns, it is important to look at all factors. Through a Unified Development Approach (UDA), with a private-public partnership between a municipality and a private developer at the core, an overarching strategy is created that analyzes the impact of a large scale development on an area and its community. When a UDA is used, a downtown revitalization becomes a more effective and successful project.

A Unified Development Approach provides a study for an entire area, and identifies what land is underutilized, what the existing uses are, what the community has and what the community needs. The UDA provides overarching plans and strategies, but will then seek vertical developers who want to partner for individual projects in the area. While many individual vertical developers may be brought in, at the end of the day having a cohesive, holistic strategy and vision for the revitalization of a downtown, ultimately results in a better place for all: the developers, the community, and the municipality.

Currently, Renaissance Downtowns utilized the Unified Development Approach in five communities: Nashua, NH, Bristol, CT, Hempstead, NY, Huntington Station, NY and South Hampton, NY. Do you think your community needs a downtown revitalization? Are you a municipality considering redevelopment? Contact us!

Who is Renaissance Downtowns and what is our vision?

phil-outdoor-dining-nightRenaissance (n) rebirth

By its definition, our name is fitting of what we do: help co-create and implement visions for community downtowns to be reborn. For the last eight years, Renaissance Downtowns has been focusing creating walkable live-play-work urban nodes within suburban downtowns in need of revitalization. Planning and placemaking trends have demonstrated to the market, and us, that people have strong desires for such places. But how does a real estate developer get into the business of knowing what a community wants for its place? The answer is a crowdsourced placemaking program, known as the CSPM System, created and managed by CSPM Group, and a Master Developer Agreement (MDA).

The CSPM System is a process through which all stakeholders in a community suggest, upvote, and continuously gives input as to what they would like to see in their own revitalized downtown, and must adhere to the triple bottom line of social, economic and environmental responsibility. Additionally, an MDA is a public-private partnership between a developer and a municipality, where a developer has purchase and development rights to underutilized municipal lands. Renaissance Downtowns is currently implementing the CSPM System and an MDA in four communities throughout the Northeast: Nashua, NH, Bristol, CT, Hempstead, NY and Huntington Station, NY. In these communities we have already made great strides in revitalizing communities, and much more is coming down the road!

Just like places need revitalization, our website and digital also needed a Renaissance. We are excited to be starting a new year with a new digital strategy! We’re live and active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Additionally, we have redesigned our website and our logo to better communicate who we are, what we do, and to be more easily accessible to multiple audiences. We will be blogging regularly about development and placemaking news, conferences, the communities we are involved in, and many more pertinent aspects of all that we do.