The in West Hempstead hopes to be open for business again this spring.
By then it will have been a year since the owners, staff and riders of Lakewood watched their old, dilapidated barns get torn down. The nearly century-old structures were to make way for a to be built in their place but the lack of activity at the Eagle Avenue site in recent months has some residents and Patch readers concerned about the fate of the project.
One Patch reader from Whitestone wrote to us, saying, "What is going on with Lakewood Stables? Will it become an equestrian facility or a condo development? The stable was a haven for so many, a valued gem that has been taken away from those who loved the place. The plan was so promising, but nothing is happening. I can't help but wonder if the enterprise was deliberately planned to fail."
But Lakewood's owner Alex Jacobson is putting the fears and rumors to rest. Although Jacobson had originally planned to demolish the stables and erect condos on the land when he purchased the business out of foreclosure in 2006, he is now fully committed to seeing it flourish as an indoor riding facility.
The only condos that residents will see here are exclusively for horses. "The foundation has been laid for the main facility, nothing else can go there," Jacobson said as he took Patch on a tour of the grounds. (Watch the video above.)
Poking out of the dirt, we could see the foundational beams for the new barn and the 30,000 sq. ft. indoor riding arena, which will have a 7,000 square foot mezzanine that seats 99. The indoor facility will allow the business to operate year-round and host horse shows, which Jacobson says will make the business more sustainable.
He also took us inside a section of the new barn, which will house 40 horse stalls, each one with its own door to an outdoor area that will give the animals plenty of space to move about. The left corner of the 4,000 sq. ft, building was assembled in December and now Jacobson says he is working on setting a date for when the rest of the main building will be delivered.
“We are hopeful we will be open in the spring,” Jacobson said.”When the main facility comes it will go up quickly.”
One of the reasons Jacobson thinks rumors may have made their way around town that nothing was happening at the site was that the old building, which houses the stables’ offices and some empty horse stalls, still has not been torn down. This prevents passersby from seeing what’s happening at the site, but Jacobson said he prefers to keep this “block” in place until the main facility is done and he can move on to “Stage 2.”
This part of the project will be completed quickly using modular construction, he said, adding, “It’s not going to keep us from opening.”
Jacobson had another exciting development to share. He recently purchased an additional 22-acre farm in upstate New York, which will serve as place for him to train, rehabilitate and retire horses.
“It’s a nice big farm...a great place for horses to stretch their legs and get some time off,” he said. “It will help our new facility by allowing us to bring in [and even sell] a lot more horses.”
Jacobson had sent a number of his horses to a farm upstate prior to Demolition Day last spring.
“We were paying to board them but decided to get something of our own,” he said.
Currently, there are 14 of Lakewood’s horses staying at their new farm in Aston, N.Y., a roughly 2-3 hour drive from West Hempstead, and seven more will be joining them. (There, are currently no more horses staying in the makeshift stables Lakewood set up in Hempstead Lake State Park last year.)
“Our horses work very hard,” Jacobson said. “They deserve some time off.”
Check out the photos and video above to see the progress and stay with Patch for more developments at Lakewood Stables.