Lynbrook village officials are hoping the new Regal movie theater, under construction on Merrick Road, will open as scheduled on April 24, despite a Nassau County fire marshal’s recent discovery of problems with the building’s standpipe system.
The system is a series of pipes that extend from the fire hydrant outside the theater and connect the water supply to the building’s sprinkler system. There was some concern about a potential delay in the opening after representatives of New York American Water informed Lynbrook Building Department Superintendent Brian Stanton that in tests earlier this month, the volume of water reaching the theater’s sprinkler system was inadequate.
During the testing, inspectors opened the hydrant and used a Fire Department pumper truck to send water through the standpipe system, which feeds into the sprinklers. The truck provided added water pressure.
On Monday, however, Stanton said that engineers had retested the system and determined that it would pass inspection. A county fire marshal will still have to approve it before the theater can open, however. “The test performed made us very optimistic,” Stanton said. “Right now, there is nothing that has come back that would make us think there will be a delay.” He noted, however, that things could change.
Stanton explained that many factors could have led to the standpipe system’s initially being deemed inadequate, including the possibility that a valve was not opened entirely. He said that engineers retested the flow from the hydrant and the pressure on Monday, and that it “came back great.”
John Kilpatrick, NYAW’s engineering manager, said that the water flow was first tested two years ago when the project began, and the sprinkler system was designed to meet those specifications. The system was made to pump 1,000 gallons of water per minute. Kilpatrick noted that when NYAW sent a crew to test the hydrant earlier this month, the pressure was higher than in 2016, pumping about 1,800 gallons per minute.
“The Fire Department ran the hydrant through its pumper truck and told us they believe the flows were not adequate,” Kilpatrick said. NYAW was set to return to the building on Tuesday, as the Herald went to press, for more tests.
At the village board meeting on March 19, Mayor Alan Beach informed residents of the issue, and said he was unsure whether the target date to open would be reached. “Miracles could be worked and it could still open on the 24th,” he said, “but right now they’re telling me it’s going to be delayed.”
Beach said he made the comments because at the time he was uncertain whether the street would have to be dug up to fix the connection, which could have delayed the opening for weeks. He noted that he was confident that the system was adequate, and that there could have been an issue with the truck that it was hooked up to during testing. “They rechecked the whole system and didn’t find anything wrong with it,” he said.
The $21 million theater, which has 13 auditoriums, has faced many setbacks because of weather and other delays. The initial target date for opening was around the holiday season, but it was then pushed back to February and March. The April 24 deadline was announced recently.
The Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group oversaw the project. In January, Project Superintendent Marc Losquadro, of All Building Construction, the general contractor for Blumenfeld, addressed the delays that his 100-member crew had faced.
“With masonry, you’re limited to your weather conditions on when you can get out there,” Losquadro explained. “That was one of the issues with delays, absolutely.” He added that because of the building’s size and the limited space around it, it was difficult to move materials. “Logistics really is the most difficult aspect,” he said. “. . . You don’t have a lot of work space, so you’re constantly moving things around.”
Raffaela Petrasek, Blumenfeld’s director of community and government affairs, said the building should be ready to open by the end of next month, despite the setbacks. “We’re in the process of coordinating all of the required inspections,” she said, “and don’t expect a delay.”