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Category Archives: RDUA Updates

RDUA Update April 2014


Renaissance 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.

hempsteadchamberFinally, 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.


RDUA Update March 2014


Here are some key highlights and updates from Renaissance Downtowns/UrbanAmerica from the last month of the Village of Hempstead’s downtown revitalization efforts:


    • constructionConstruction Schedule: Phase I of the redevelopment is slated to begin by the end of this year (and quite possibly sooner). The first phase will include about 330 apartment units, providing an initial burst of economic development and investment for the Village.  This will represent not only the first step toward implementing the $2 billion vision for a mixed-use, walkable downtown, but will also be the launch point for the thousands of jobs that will be created, in addition to a new inflow of economic activity for local contractors and business owners alike.
    • Community Benefits Agreement
      One of the key pieces of the Village’s development vision has been an insistence that a CBA is created to provide local career and contracting opportunities for Village residents. As noted above, these opportunities will begin upon commencement of construction for Phase I. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the course of the development, 10,000 construction jobs and over 5000 permanent jobs are expected to be created, with the CBA providing for local hiring of both individuals and contracting firms. By legislating local hiring requirements into the Village’s zoning code, Hempstead has created a first-of-its-kind CBA that has already become a model for other communities to follow. Read more about the CBA at
    • Sewer and Infrastructure Investments:
      From the beginning of the redevelopment process, master developer Renaissance Downtowns-UrbanAmerica has recognized the need to repair and upgrade local infrastructure. However, to procure state and federal dollars to ensure that the local taxpayer is not burdened by these efforts, it was necessary to show a return on investment for the infrastructure improvements. By demonstrating the many benefits of Hempstead’s planned revitalization to regional, state and federal officials, millions of dollars have been procured to study and address these issues. As a reuslt, without any burden to the local taxpayer, system wide studies and upgrades have already begun, which will be a tremendous bonus to existing residents and businesses who will benefit from improvements to the sewer system both within the Village and in regard to its tie-in to the County sewer system.
    • Renew Hempstead Renewed!!!
      A number of our local residents have asked Renew Hempstead to once again begin meet-ups and host other events to ensure communication and transparency as we move from the planning process to construction. As a result, Renew Hempstead has re-launched its outreach efforts to ensure that the Hempstead community is fully informed about the positive progress and momentum that has taken place in regard to our Village’s much anticipated downtown revitalization. Originally formed to ensure that local residents and business owners had a say in the co-creation of a redevelopment vision for our community, Renew Hempstead has now shifted gears as we approach groundbreaking on one of the most important revitalization efforts to occur not only in Hempstead Village, but across the entire Long Island region. Please check out for upcoming events, learning opportunities and festivities that are planned over the coming weeks and months.

RDUA Update Winter 2014


rh_feature1The winter has been roaring, as has Renaissance Downtowns-Urban America (RDUA) as we move ever closer to breaking ground on the first phase of the downtown Hempstead Village revitalization. With all approvals in place for the $2 billion project, including the Village and RDUA agreeing to a Community Benefits Agreement to ensure local job creation and contracting opportunities, construction is expected to begin by Summer of this year on Phase I.

The first phase will consist of 336 residential apartment units and will be the first opportunity for the Village of Hempstead’s newly instituted Jobs and Business Referral Center to provide jobs for local residents and contractors. Led by Reverend Reginald Benjamin of ABBA, the Center has already conducted numerous meetings and has compiled a list of prospective employees who reside in the Village. More info on the Center will be provided by the end of the month, including contact information.

In addition to preparing for local residents to begin constructing the first phase, RDUA has been in discussions with a number of entities that are considering locating their businesses to the Village. The excitement that has been created by Mayor Hall and his administration’s successes has clearly sent a message to the business community that Hempstead is truly “Open for Business.” We look forward to providing more information as these efforts move forward.

Renew Hempstead: It’s Your Village, and We’re Listening!


Originally published in The Hempstead Beacon, May 25, 2012
By Brandon Palanker, Renaissance Downtowns

The people of Hempstead have an unprecedented opportunity – right now – to make their voices heard.

Immediately after being chosen as the company that will help revitalize this Village, Renaissance Downtowns embraced Mayor Wayne Hall’s initiative to give residents a voice in the development and long-term planning process. To successfully revitalize a downtown area, a development company needs to work closely with local residents and stakeholders. I’m proud to say that Renaissance has a track record of great success – and that success has been possible because we make a point of listening.

Only with your input can we transform this Village, providing significant,ongoing social and economic benefits for residents and businesses alike. When the revitalization becomes reality, the Village of Hempstead will be a shining star among Long Island communities. And it will be your shining star.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to make your voice heard is to visit The Renew Hempstead website provides a forum where you can cast your vote for the types of shops, uses and amenities you would like to see in the revitalized downtown area. Renaissance will conduct a study on the ideas garnering the most votes, gaining insight for creating a downtown that truly represents the vision of Hempstead residents. Renew Hempstead provides you with a real place at the table. I urge you to vote, and to tell everyone you know to do the same.

Periodically, we will host a “Chat & Chew” and other social and informative meet ups. This is a chance for you to come down and have a bite to eat with representatives from Renew Hempstead, talk about the project and share your ideas. We recently held our first happy hour at Nakisaki restaurant on Fulton Avenue. The attendance and feedback left everyone even more enthusiastic and dedicated to the project, and we’re looking forward to more events in the near future. For more information on attending a Renew Hempstead event, please visit

Renaissance has made history within the development industry by pledging to provide, in writing, a binding Community Benefits Agreement that will ensure local job and career creation from the redevelopment. To achieve this, we are working with the Mayor and a committee comprising residents, business owners and local Officials. This diverse group represents the many perspectives in the Village and ensures that all the tough questions will be answered.

Hempstead Village has an important place in Nassau County and on the entire Island as a historic center of commerce and culture. Now, you have an opportunity to play a part in its rebirth. Please visit and cast your vote. and plan to come out for upcoming Chat & Chew sessions. Let your voice and your vision help create a revitalized Hempstead — your Hempstead.

Mountain Movers Wanted: Excellent Benefits, No Experience Necessary


logoOriginally published in The Hempstead Beacon, April 20, 2012
By Brandon Palanker, Renaissance Downtowns

“…Only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s always hard to envision the future  but the ability to imagine the possibilities the future holds is the hallmark of people who make great things happen. Throughout history, men and women have literally moved mountains to realize their visions and their dreams. Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne Hall and his administration, along with hundreds of enthusiastic Hempstead residents, are ready to move mountains if necessary to see their vision become reality. And I am thrilled to be part of that vision: the revitalization of Hempstead’s downtown. Indeed, Hempstead Village is already on the rise, and what lies ahead is truly fantastic. It’s my hope that the residents of this community will feel the change happening every day and that people in Nassau County, across Long Island, throughout New York State and far beyond will see this historic Village become what it should be: a vibrant and beautiful center of activity. The new Hempstead will embrace all aspects of life in a small community while keeping its arms open to business and entertainment and becoming a place for residents to enjoy and for others to envy.

Today, this is our vision; tomorrow it will be our reality. The redevelopment of Hempstead Village’s downtown area is this community’s ticket to a better, safer, cleaner, healthier and wealthier lifestyle. Last year, the Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) designated a $2 billion redevelopment of downtown Hempstead as a “Project of Regional Significance.” What the LIRPC means by this designation is that fixing Hempstead‘s downtown has significant potential to improve the overall quality of life for residents, as well as to become regionally important in the areas ofeconomic development, housing, transportation, energy, environment, education. public health, emergency preparedness and social and economic equity.

What does that mean to a resident of Hempstead? It means more jobs, better housing and a bright future. Mayor Hall and the village adntinistralion. the local organization Renew Hempstead, and Renaissance Downtowns-UrbanAmerica (RDUA) will work together to make certain that local employment opportunities are created when the project moves fonvard. Overall, the redevelopment is expected to create 3,500 permanent jobs and over 10,000 construction jobs. RDUA has already engaged in significant discussions with the local building trades to garner their participation in a Project Labor Agreement (FLA) that will further reinforce the provision of job and career opportunities for Hempstead residents. In addition, negotiations are underway to establish a Community Benefits Agreement between RDUA and the village that will ensure local job participation and the involvement of local contractors and businesses. Mayor Hall has formed a cornmittee to represent the contrnunity and work with Urban Strategies to develop the agreement, which will then be taken to the labor trades regarding the PLA component.

Studies regarding the sewer system have been already been commissioned; this is the first step in utilizing the $5 Million awarded to the village by New York State. The project will help spur the downtown development and alleviate existing sewer issues for neighborhoods throughout the village. Groundbreaking on repairs and upgrades is expected to begin by the end of this spring or early summer.

A vital aspect of our vision for Hempstead Village is to create wonderful opportunities for children and teens. To celebrate the contributions of these important members of the community, RDUA, Renew Hempstead and the Hempstead Boys & Girls Club recently collaborated in hosting a contest for young people. Children were asked to offer their ideas for the future of the vi]lage by drawing posters depicting their own dreams for Hempstead. The results were outstanding, and Mayor Hall gave out prizes for the top entries. Many other community leaders, including Hempstead Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia Garcia and Board of Education President Charles Renfroe, to name a few, came out to join in the spirited event. Parents and other community members were cheerfully supportive. Renew Hempstead plans to hold other similar events for Hempstead young people in the days ahead. I encourage you to visit and register so that you can vote on the types of shops, uses and arnenities you want to see in the future of the village. RDUA will review the top 10 suggestions with the highest number of votes to determine how those concepts can be incorporated redevelopment plan.

Hempstead is on the rise. The future of this village is bright. Soon, we will all begin to see it change before our eyes. I encourage you to get involved now, in the early stages of planning, so that when the future becomes the present, you will have the deep satisfaction of knowing you helped move a mountain to bring a vision to life.

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