As 1-800-Flowers leaves, IDA fertilizes wilted site

How does your Class-A Office Building grow: With Nassau County IDA assistance, at least at One Old Country Road in Carle Place.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

With iconic 1-800-Flowers.com transplanting to Jericho Plaza, its current/soon-to-be former Carle Place home is being reseeded by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

The IDA on Thursday announced preliminary approval of an application for economic-development benefits by DBD Realty Group, the Garden City-based LLC that purchased One Old Country Road – 1-800-Flowers.com’s home for the past 15 years – for $26.5 million in February.

With the international e-retailer announcing its relocation plans (also realized with Nassau IDA assistance), DBD Realty is planning a $13.7 renovation of the five-story, 300,000-square-foot building and its adjacent 150,000-square-foot parking garage, which is currently condemned by the Town of North Hempstead for safety violations.

Richard Kessel: Visible effort.

The work is sorely needed for a circa-1969 structure that’s seen better days: According to the Nassau IDA, even with 1-800-Flowers.com still in the fold, the building suffers a 40 percent vacancy rate, with most tenants “currently in a month-to-month or short-term lease.”

After multiple ownership changes, a high-profile foreclosure and “decades of decline and blight,” the IDA added, those tenants show “extreme reluctance to enter into a long- term lease without marked improvement to the building.”

Enter DBD Realty, which aims to restore One Old Country Road to Class-A Office Building status – updated elevators, new HVAC technologies and a renovated cafeteria are all on tap – and ink major-league clients to long-term leases.

The Nassau IDA incentives package is critical to getting it done, according to the LLC, and while the IDA has granted only preliminary approval so far – a full review and final vote are needed – the agency knows a good bet when it sees one, according to Chairman Richard Kessel.

“We are happy to consider assisting such a highly visible project,” Kessel said in a statement. “We hope that with the help of the IDA, the owners will be able to reverse decades of decline and attract quality tenants and bring new vibrancy to Nassau County.”