The grand opening of the Garvies Point Welcome Center on Herb Hill Road was celebrated with a reception and ribbon cutting on Wednesday, May 18, a well-attended event that included public officials, business and civic leaders, as well as local residents. The center is the first component of the $1 billion waterfront development plan and is intended as a community resource for information on the plan throughout the development process.
“What this facility is here for is to allow people to come and get the facts—about the project, about where we’re going, where we’ve been, and essentially be better able to participate and understand the project,” said Joe Graziose, senior vice president of RXR Realty.
The center holds a scale model of the plan and interactive displays to give people a better sense of the scope of the project, a mixed-use plan to restore 56 acres along the waterfront that will include 1,110 residential units, 75,000-square-feet of shops and restaurants and 28 acres of open space and amenities with bike paths, a playground and an amphitheater.
Graziose said they tried to “dig in” to find the local businesses to work on the welcome center’s renovations and design and chose local vendors to participate in the opening event. Studio Grella and Maccarone Plumbing were hired to work on center and Capobianco’s Glen Street Florist, Garvies Point Brewery, Elegant Affairs Catering and Peter M. Budraitis Photography provided services for the grand opening.
“We’re working together with people who, at the end of the day, have the same values as we do,” said Graziose. “Which is, let’s get things done, let’s work in harmony and let’s keep it local.”
“Today is an incredible milestone for this project because it is laying out for you what is going to unfold from this point over the next 10 years,” said Scott Rechler, chairman and chief executive officer of RXR Realty. “Until you actually see the scale and scope of what we’re talking about, it’s really hard to put in perspective how impactful this will be to the city of Glen Cove. This waterfront will be transformed into an incredible public amenity that will revitalize and re-energize the whole city of Glen Cove.”
Rechler said that all of the public amenities, including the esplanade and the parks, will be built in the first 24 months, with the commercial buildings being phased in over the course of the project.
“This is not a dream, this is a reality,” said Rechler.
“Now after 20 years, the process is beginning,” said Mayor Reggie Spinello. “This is going to be the vision that I’ve always wanted for Glen Cove, to maintain us. Glen Cove really is the center of commerce for the surrounding communities, and this makes us the center for recreation, entertainment and waterfront living. It will bring in new people and people who want to enjoy the benefits of a suburban city.”
“The Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District continues its longtime support of the Glen Cove waterfront redevelopment project,” said Francine Ferrante-Koehler, executive director of the BID. “We expect the downtown to benefit from its next door neighbor relationship. Garvies Point brings the potential for much-needed density, foot traffic and business to Glen Cove.”
During the grand opening celebration, a group of protesters gathered across the street, the second protest of the week organized by the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront. The group, consisting of members from Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glen Head and Glenwood Landing, is opposed to the “overdevelopment” of the proposed project, which they state is “out of scale and character with the bucolic North Shore community,” citing the potential burden on the city’s infrastructure due to the increased high density housing and traffic.
The Welcome Center, at 49 Herb Hill Rd., will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.