Long Island Business News

A new retail project, replacing five run-down buildings, has brought a national tenant and advanced an urban renewal plan first launched by the Village of Hempstead in 1993.

Built on Front Street, by the back entrance of the 250,000-square-foot Hub shopping center, the $3 million redevelopment from Jericho-based AJM Realty created 11,000 square feet of retail space and an accompanying 17,000-square-foot parking lot. Family Dollar, which leased 9,000 square feet, opened three weeks ago and AJM is currently seeking a tenant for the remaining 2,000 square feet.

While the Hub center, developed by Breslin Realty 16 years ago, replaced a long-shuttered A&S department store and revitalized about 30 acres there, some of the under-utilized properties surrounding the center–and within the urban renewal area – continued to languish.

AJM saw an opportunity for redevelopment and began by buying the tax liens on an old retail building at 209 Front St. which had been tax delinquent since 1995 and accumulated a tax debt of about $1.8 million. After that acquisition in November 2013, AJM set out to assemble four more adjacent

Front Street properties: three one-story retail buildings and a two-story residential building, which it closed on in June 2016.
AJM Realty redeveloped these run-down properties on Front Street for its retail project.

The developer then secured a 10-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency which was approved by the Village of Hempstead Community Development Agency and began construction on the project.
“We took antiquated real estate and turned it into a modern and functional retail center,” said Ken Hillman, an AJM executive who helped assemble the blighted properties and signed Family Dollar as a tenant. “We’re very proud of the building.”

It wasn’t easy. AJM principal Adam Mann said assembling the properties and securing the economic incentives from Hempstead took two years to accomplish. But he added that the location is a busy one and positioned to attract the area’s many retail customers.
“We’re adjacent to the Hub and just down the road from Basser-Kaufman’s Hempstead Village Commons,” Mann said. “Family Dollar has only been opened for three weeks and it’s already busy. The customer feedback has been extremely positive.”

For the available space next to Family Dollar, Mann said his firm is looking for a credit-worthy retail tenant that will be welcomed by the community. He added that the Front Street project is another piece in the ongoing reboot of Hempstead’s downtown headed by Renaissance Downtowns, which broke ground this week with partners RXR Realty and UrbanAmerica on the first project of the $2.5 billion overall revitalization plan that aims to bring 3,500 residential units and 2 million square feet of commercial and retail space to the village.

“As master developer for Hempstead’s downtown revitalization, it is great to see additional development occur in and around the area, said Don Monti, CEO of Renaissance Downtowns. “Adam’s efforts in the village are proof that a comprehensive and inclusionary redevelopment approach will attract additional investment from private property owners in the village’s downtown.”

Besides new jobs and sales tax revenue, the village will be getting about $54,000 in property taxes from the redevelopment next year and incremental increases in each year of its PILOT agreement.

“This project will be a benefit to the Village of Hempstead’s downtown revitalization efforts by increasing retail space around the county’s busiest multi-modal transit center,” said Danielle Oglesby, commissioner of the Hempstead CDA. “New commercial development will strengthen the downtown business district and create new jobs for Hempstead residents.”