Being a Good Neighbor

August 31 Mary Brigid Coughlan

Community engagement is vital to building trust, relationships, and long-lasting collaborations for neighborhood redevelopment projects. Stereotypically, there tends to be a concerning lack of communication between real estate developers and local community organizations and residents. TRITEC works tirelessly to bridge the communication gap and build relationships within a community in an effort to not only encourage the success of the project, but to also ensure that the project meets the needs and wants of the community.

Engagement is a primary goal at TRITEC. Whether supporting charities in the local communities in which it works or strategically developing a project that incorporates input from local community residents, TRITEC strives to avoid the “one and done” standard. Rather than simply build, lease and sell projects, as is commonplace in the real estate industry, TRITEC assumes an approach to social responsibility that is evident long before breaking ground on a new project and which can be felt for decades after project completion.

From the beginning of the development process, TRITEC meets with interest groups and stakeholders to organically craft a project that accurately reflects the needs and character of the community. Such stakeholders span the gamut and may include groups such the local government, police and fire departments, chamber of commerce, school board, historical society, and the business improvement district. But the connection between TRITEC and the community does not stop there; it lasts long after a project reaches completion. Thirty-years ago, TRITEC invested in and developed Stony Brook Technology Center. Since then, TRITEC and Stony Brook Hospital have fostered a strong and enduring relationship. This past year, TRITEC continued its support by donating over $250,000 to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Mather_Shipyard_Crew,_1884There are numerous examples of how TRITEC has applied this process of community engagement, and one such example is evident at TRITEC’s current project in Port Jefferson. The Shipyard at Port Jeff Harbor is a 112-unit apartment project that broke ground in the Village of Port Jefferson this past July of 2016. The name, “The Shipyard,” is symbolic of the longstanding boatbuilding history that distinguishes this seaside town. The planned architectural design elements will reflect the character of the Village, with certain details mimicking some of the older existing buildings in the surrounding area.

New Village at Patchogue, a 291-unit mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Patchogue, has successfully integrated itself into the local community. This integration is exemplified by the “Taste of Patchogue,” an annual food tasting event sponsored by TRITEC and hosted at New Village. This year, the Taste of Patchogue drew nearly 1,200 attendees who came out to sample the food from any of the fourteen local participating restaurants. The event raised $13,700, which was donated to The Patchogue Neighbors INN, a private social service agency that supports local soup kitchens. Susan Kahl, President of The Patchogue Neighbors INN, stated, “These soup kitchens are open five different days a week and serve a hot meal at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Approximately 1,250 guests are served each month; doors are open to everyone. The donation from this fundraiser will cover all costs of operation for four to six months. This is HUGE!” This community involvement, although initiated by TRITEC, has been adopted and continued by the residents of New Village. For example, residents set up a lemonade stand at New Village’s poolside concerts, with all proceeds donated to The INN. Enriching our projects and residents with the spirit of giving back is key to becoming an integral part of the community.

Earth Say 2016Although a lot of TRITEC’s community involvement focuses on local efforts, TRITEC strives to be a good global citizens as well. At New Village this past spring, TRITEC sponsored an Earth Day event in order to raise awareness about climate change and promote environmentally-friendly practices. That day, residents of New Village were encouraged to turn off the lights in their apartments, were offered locally roasted and brewed coffee if residents brought their own reusable mugs to one of the complex’s outdoor fireplaces, and were given the opportunity to plant a small herb garden to put in their apartment windows.

Whether working with the Village’s historical society on generating ideas for a building’s initial design, supporting and participating in local charities, or giving back to a cause many years after a project is completed, TRITEC actively aspires to nurture and partake in community engagement efforts whenever possible. At TRITEC, we believe there is a symbiotic relationship between improving the communities in which we work and creating sustainable, successful projects that will spur economic development, that in turn further supports the sustainability of our projects. For instance, if we can assist in improving a community’s streetscape, we believe such enhancements will in turn aid in attracting new residents to the community, some of whom may opt to live in one of our apartments. Simply put, TRITEC is a firm believer of “doing well by doing good”.