• Tritec News

Forward Together: How Long Island is Tackling Housing Shortages and Building Opportunities

Kevin Law speaking at the LIBDC Islip event

Long Island’s economy faces a series of stiff challenges brought on by housing shortages and infrastructure needs, but the region is moving closer to solving those problems, according to TRITEC Executive Vice President and Partner Kevin Law, thanks to investments and support from New York State.

Law delivered the keynote address last week at the Long Island Business Development Council’s annual Town of Islip Dinner, where Suffolk County Executive Edward Romaine and Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter emphasized the importance of cooperation between state and local government and regional business leaders.  Carpenter praised Law for his ongoing work advocating for Long Island, now as chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation.

“We have to work with all levels of government,” Carpenter said.  “We are blessed and lucky that Kevin Law has the respect of those in Albany, works with those in Albany and understands what it’s like in the business community.”

Romaine lauded the “innovative” Ronkonkoma Hub project, which includes TRITEC’s Station Yards complex and the 1,450 residential units it will eventually bring to the Long Island real estate market.

Law said market-rate housing — like Station Yards and TRITEC’s new 418-unit Shoregate development in Bay Shore — is “critically important” due to the severe supply/demand imbalance that is unique to Long Island in the tri-state area.  It also provides residential options for the expanded workforce these developments plan to attract.

“Most healthy regions have 65 percent single-family homes and 35 percent apartments,” Law said.  On Long Island, however, single-family homes make up 82 percent of housing stock despite significant shifts in demographics.  Traditional two-parent households have sharply declined since the 1970s while single-occupant homes have doubled.

New York State’s Long Island Investment Fund (LIIF) set aside $350 million for large-scale, transformative projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties.  Law said Governor Kathy Hochul deserves credit for amending the program’s criteria to allow housing developments to use those funds for vital infrastructure like sewer systems and parking.

“That’s a pretty significant chunk of change from Albany,” he said.

The state has also invested $15 billion in the Long Island Railroad over the past decade, Law said, most notably on the East Side Access that has reduced commute times and will ultimately benefit the Island’s real estate economy.

“Whether you take the train or not, it’s important for our region to have good access to New York City and for businesses here to tap into that labor force,” Law said.

Law closed by highlighting the importance of Long Island’s Industrial Development Agencies, which he said are unfairly attacked by media and elected officials despite the key role they play in accelerating development of new housing.  “TRITEC’s Shoregate project does not happen if the Islip IDA is not helping us,” he said.  “Our big Ronkonkoma project — not happening without the Brookhaven IDA.”

Overall, Law said, the local business community can feel optimistic about the direction Long Island is headed and the leadership provided by officials like Romaine and Carpenter.

“We should celebrate the investments being made in our region and the progress we’re making in housing, especially in the Town of Islip,” he said.

Romaine struck a similarly optimistic tone, calling Islip a model of local leadership and expressing his vision for the region as “the Island of hope and opportunity.”  Long Island’s government and business leaders are in position to work together and resolve long-standing issues, he said, such as electrifying diesel rail lines, expanding sewers and feeding the homeless.

“We can be the engine for this state,” Romaine said.  “It isn’t just New York City.  Long Island can be a tremendous economic engine.”