Baldwin Downtown Revitalization Initiative
Downtown Baldwin, centered on Grand Avenue, is the commercial backbone of the predominantly residential hamlet of Baldwin, located within the Town of Hempstead along the south shore of Nassau County. The Baldwin community has long recognized its assets, including transit access and TOD opportunities, historic features, and a diverse and engaged community. This community envisions Baldwin as a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, and mixed-use downtown, with an active, compact, multi-modal Long Island Rail Road Station (LIRR) station area at its center. This vision also incorporates a productive mix of land uses and innovative green infrastructure components to create a place where residents, commuters and visitors want to shop, dine, and recreate. The Town is currently undertaking a new strategic and holistic approach to revitalization of downtown Baldwin through the implementation of a downtown mixed-use overlay zone and design guidelines, which will provide a streamlined framework for future development to support this vision. With targeted DRI investments that complement and build upon this framework, Downtown Baldwin will thrive as the vibrant center of activity and local economic driver that the Baldwin community deserves.
The downtown and commercial corridor in Baldwin consists of a variety of uses, including retail, commercial, institutional, and public recreation, which are generally clustered in the vicinity of the LIRR station and along Grand Avenue, the hamlet’s major thoroughfare. The community consists of a mix of residential neighborhoods with different architectural styles and a waterfront that contains a rich history of original and renovated cottages. The economic health and resiliency of coastal communities such as Baldwin have recently been affected by unprecedented severe weather events. Furthermore, downtown Baldwin has historically suffered from stagnant economic performance, retail vacancies, and underutilization. The resources to encourage a viable and healthy downtown and commercial corridor are urgently needed for the revitalization of Baldwin to be successful.
But Baldwin is ready for change. Over the past year, the Town has been working toward a new approach to revitalization in Baldwin, called the Baldwin Revitalization Project, drafting a new zoning framework and design guidelines for the proposed DRI area that will foster a resurgence of community vitality and economic stability. The project is anticipated to bring an additional 975,000 square feet of development to downtown Baldwin in the next ten years, including 750 new residential units and 225,000 square feet of new commercial space. The Baldwin Revitalization Project was built on a robust community outreach process, including community presentations, workshops, and stakeholder meetings. Community enthusiasm for the project has been palpable, with more community members asking not if, but how fast we can get this done.
The Baldwin Revitalization Project builds on existing local initiatives in order to implement key projects to revitalize the Grand Avenue downtown and commercial corridor in Baldwin and to address the need for greater resiliency in the face of changing economic markets and demographics.
Ultimately, this DRI investment in Baldwin will serve as a catalyst toward execution of the key projects that are ripe for implementation, which, once set in motion, will result in better economic and physical resiliency in the community. Needed capital improvement projects will complement and provide a vital foundation for the anticipated influx of private investment within the proposed DRI boundaries. This will help revitalize the downtown and commercial corridors in Baldwin as interactive places that promote well-being and pride for the people who live, work and play there.