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E. Garden City Demo Makes Way For Shopping Plaza

More of former Avis Rent-A-Car headquarters at 900 Old Country Road comes down Monday.

Bull dozers wasted no time demolishing some of the last remaining walls of the former Avis Rent-A-Car headquarters at 900 Old Country Road Monday in E. Garden City.

The razing makes way for a 330,000 square foot shopping plaza to include retail, banking and food establishments. Avis moved its headquarters to New Jersey a decade ago. The vacant site, which is located near Roosevelt Field Mall, became an eye sore on the busy corridor.

A grand opening is scheduled for fall 2012.

"It's one of the few times that we can say that by tearing something down we are building something else up at the very same time," town supervisor Kate Murray said at a morning press conference at the construction site.

Equity One, Inc., a shopping center real estate investment trust developing the site, is dubbing the project "The Gallery at Westbury Plaza" and intends to designate more than 315,000 square feet for retail, nearly 11,000 square feet for restaurant use and more than 3,200 square feet for a financial institution.

Equity One, which owns nearby Westbury Plaza, anticipates receiving property tax relief and sales tax exemptions for construction and materials from the town's Industrial Development Agency (IDA), a non-profit, public benefit agency that promotes "economic development and jobs by helping businesses grow with financial assistance and tax relief."

"It gives us no greater joy to see what the possibilities are for this site," said Jeffrey Olson, CEO of Equity One, Inc. "We've already started the process of transforming an old abandoned warehouse facility into a vibrant retail destination ... We're building this to own this for the next generation."

Olson, who believes Old Country Road is one of the "strongest retail corridors in the nation," said there's no place Equity One would rather be in terms of investing its money.

"Everyone understands the challenges our current economy presents for individuals, municipalities and corporations," he said. "Our company has made strategic decisions over the past few years to help us meet those challenges and allow us to make investments like this one, which is more than $100 million."

Murray said the project is a "direct investment in the economy through direct construction and related expenses" with an expected 600+ permanent jobs created and an estimated $4.5 million in annual sales tax receipts generated.

The town board unanimously approved Equity One's site plan and the Hempstead's board of appeals granted variances allowing a "reasonable increase in the allowable density of the development" and relief from "other zoning restrictions."

Frank Scarangella April 05, 2011 at 01:46 AM
just what we need another shopping plaza... not
Frank June 17, 2011 at 03:22 PM
I hate this more than anything. the last thing we need is more shopping. we need REAL BUSINESS that provides REAL JOBS. How much more retail space can you fit in this town... really?
With 100 million to be invested by Equity One and 600 permanent jobs, this seems pretty real to me. Rather the: shopping, retail jobs and upscale development than an empty shell of the former Avis Headquarters. As far as the "last thing we need", the market determines what "we need". Here's a private entity that's investing huge money in our area. If they believe retail will work- more power to 'em. Wish them the best.
Bill Sweeney June 17, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Thank you. Why don't people wake up and realize that the market should drive things. If it doesn't work, then it will be replaced. That's what has made America great. Not government oversight and intervention. In relation to income, population, etc. I think there are many reports saying that LI is actually UNDER retailed. Just b/c this corridor is busy, doesn't mean we're saturated.
Dee September 14, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I was one of the people who worked at Avis World Headquarters (not a warehouse, Mr. Olson) for 13+ years, and like most was not picked to go to NJ. The original reason why Avis left was 1) Henry Silverman of now departed Cendant wanting Avis in his own building in Parsippany, 2) some fabulous bid that Simon Malls was going to make on the property and 3) the absolute disinterest that Nassau County had in retaining the company. Of course with 9/11 the projected mall never came to pass and so the property was derelict for a decade. All I can say is that it broke any Avis alumni's heart to see the building in the state it was. We had many good decades on Long Island and no one wanted to leave save the corrupt company which took Avis over. I'm pleased to learn of this news, albeit kind of late in the day.

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