Malverne is one step closer to seeing a new restaurant open on Hempstead Avenue.
With their 60-day deadline to make a decision on the matter rapidly approaching, the village board took action last week on the to change the use of the Tri-Color Imaging building located at 356 Hempstead Ave. to a combination restaurant/office space.
They granted one out of two of the applicant's requests, giving the property owner and developer, Melconian Properties LLC, the green light to open a 114-seat tapas-style restaurant in the village.
"The offices were withheld," Trustee Michael Bailey told Patch. Parking concerns regarding the issue, were factored into the board's final decision, which Bailey called "judicious."
After the trustees each conducted their own independent assessments of the parking situation in the village, Deputy Mayor Joseph Hennessy said that they came to the conclusion that it was a concern, but not one that should prevent the restaurant from opening.
"Like any other business, you have a time when things are really hopping," Henessy said. During these busy periods, the lots may fill up and patrons will need to park on the street and perhaps, walk a block or two to their destination, as they do in most villages, he explained. However, he added, "other times, the majority of the time, there was parking available."
But whether the parking was enough to support both a restaurant and various offices, which would be located in approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of space in the basement of the building, was a question the board could not answer. At this time, the property owner does not have any potential tenants for the office space and therefore, the board could not estimate the potential effects this element of the proposal would have on the parking situation.
"We didn't want to make a decision on something that didn't exist," Hennessy told Patch. "We voted on what we know."
Hennessy explained that if and when Melconian does acquire potential tenants for the downstairs space, they will have to come back before the board to get permission.
"At that point we'll be able to trace how well he's monitoring the parking," Hennessy said, adding that no other restrictions were placed on Melconian. It will be up to the property owner to decide how to manage the parking.
Another factor in the board's decision was the support the restaurant idea received from members of the community including residents and merchants, albeit a few businesses were against it.
"We felt the community wanted a restaurant and that it would bring a lot of traffic into the community," Hennessy said.
So when will these Malvernites be able to sink their teeth into what this new restaurant has to offer?
The document reflecting the board's decision will be signed Tuesday. Going forward, the village's architectural review board will have to review the specific plans for the restaurant, including its design, the planned changes to the building's facade and the proposal to allow food and drink to be served at tables located outside.
Still, Hennessy says, the plan has "jumped over a major hurdle."
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