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NY Times eyes Lockheed Martin for new facility

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The New York Times is eyeing the old Lockheed Martin complex just over the Queens border in Nassau County as the site for expanding its distribution network for the borough and Long Island, the developer said.

The site, which sits between the Long Island towns of North Hempstead and Lake Success, is owned by iPark Holdings, which in turn is jointly owned by the Greenwich, Conn.-based National RE/sources and the Manhattan-based Apollo Real Estate Company.

“The Times is in negotiations to lease a part of the site,” said Judy White, a spokeswoman for iPark, “but nothing has been signed.”

She said The Times plans to use the 165,000-square-foot facility for office space, technical support and a newspaper distribution center for Long Island and Queens.

Toby Usnik, a spokesman for The New York Times, said it is policy not to comment on the company’s business plans.

“The New York Times newspaper is always interested in improving its circulation, distribution and value it delivers to its readers,” he said, when questioned about the distribution center.

The Times does not handle the distribution of its papers on Long Island. The New York Times recently built a large printing plant in College Point.

The 94-acre site, which was once home to aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, Sperry, and Unisys, was bought by iPark in April 2000. The company has been advertising iPark’s availability as a perfect place for the technology industry.

White said because of widespread dot-com failures, iPark has recently shifted focus and is looking to make the site a “front office, high-tech park.”

The area just off the Lakeville Road exits of the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway at 1111 Marcus Ave. contains three buildings and about 1.3 million square feet of office space.

White said Sport Club LA, which runs the Reebok Sports Clubs in Manhattan, has signed a lease with iPark to open a 100,000-square-foot health club in the south building.

North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital System is also in negotiations to rent about 40,000 square feet at iPark. Jeffrey Kraut, senior vice president for planning, said the hospital wants to build a rehabilitation and physical therapy center attached to the sports club. In addition, it wants to add administration space in the main building at iPark during construction on the LIJ campus in New Hyde Park.

He said the hospital wants to reconstruct its emergency room, take beds out of Hillside Hospital and build space for several new beds at Hillside’s ambulatory center.

David Wasserman, commissioner of buildings for North Hempstead, said iPark has submitted a site plan application to reconstruct the existing building on the property. He said he did not know who iPark had in mind for tenants, just that it wanted to do work on the structures.

After the application passes through the North Hempstead planning department, he said, it is sent to the town board and then there is a public hearing held on the project. After the hearing the town board will vote to approve or deny the application. Wasserman said during each of the steps the plan could be sent back to the owners for changes.

Use of the site has caused an uproar in New Hyde Park, which borders the property. Mike Castellano, vice president of the Lost Community Civic, has been trying to determine if the toxic waste that has been found underneath the old Lockheed Martin factory on the Queens/Nassau border is a threat to northeastern Queens.

“I urge anyone who moves onto the site to keep an eye on the underground aquifer, which is contaminated,” said Sue Noreika, the longtime chairwoman of Community Board 13, who lives 200 to 300 feet from the complex.

Castellano has said that when the Lockheed Martin plant was in operation, it used chemicals to treat metals and to clean the factory’s machines but at the time no one had any idea about the environmental impact of the chemicals.

The chemicals, he said, such as cobalt, cyanide, lead, mercury and synthetics, were dumped into three drainage pools on the site. He said there was a water purification project underway but it will take 30 years to clean all the ground water.

White said the cleanup of the site falls on its former owners — Lockheed Martin.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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