Former Westbury site back on track?

The owner of several Main Street parcels that had been envisioned years ago as a retail/residential development with a parking deck is interested in adding a neighboring parcel as it restarts efforts on the site.

“Due to improving economic conditions and redesign of our development from condominiums to apartments, we would like to move ahead with this project,” wrote Nils Berten, vice president of North American Operations for Slokker Real Estate Group, wrote in a March 30 letter to the Parking Authority, which owns the property directly behind their lots. The Westbury originally was planned as 140- to 150-unit condominium development along Main Street, across from The Savoy, with 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and a 324-space parking deck.

“This project must be made economically viable and will not include a massive parking structure as discussed in the past,” Bertens wrote. “The addition of this land to our property would enhance our development, increase economic viability, and in our opinion, be an improvement for the city as well.”

Through its partnership with Dornoch Rahway II, LP, Slokker Real Estate Group owns Block 318, Lots 1-10, and according to property records, paid more than $6.2 million for the parcels in all (here’s a Google spreadsheet of the acquisitions, including square footage of the since-razed buildings and their 2009 property tax bills).

Dornoch and Slokker are no longer partners and due to economic developments the project has been at a standstill until now, Bertens wrote. (As it’s been described to me, Slokker was a principal in the partnership but was more involved on the investment side.) Since June 2010, Slokker has had a lease agreement with the Parking Authority for use of the property.

In a brief telephone interview this week, Bertens said they are looking at different options and it’s too early to discuss specifics about density or size, other than to say he expects to pursue multifamily rental housing as that’s the only “realistic option in today’s market.”

Asked whether a grocery store or market of some kind has been considered for the site, Bertens said that they haven’t examined the feasibility.

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