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From Blight to Bright: TRITEC’s Revitalization of Long Island’s Downtowns

The HIA-LI's Annual Town of Islip Economic Development event

Town of Islip officials praised TRITEC on Wednesday at an HIA-LI panel on regional economic development, calling the company’s multifamily projects in Suffolk County models for smart growth and the type of housing that will bring new businesses and young professionals to Long Island downtowns.

Speaking at the Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore, just a short walk from TRITEC’s 418-unit Shoregate complex, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said the recently opened residential facility “totally exemplifies what transit-oriented development should be.”

“Shoregate has 400-plus apartments that are absolutely gorgeous, across the street from the train station, buses stopping in front, half a block to downtown, two blocks to Fire Island ferries and an Uber ride away from MacArthur Airport,” Carpenter said. “It doesn’t get more transit-oriented than that.”

Bay Shore is thriving, said John Walser, Islip’s executive director of economic development, and with Shoregate now an option for an influx of workers and business owners, “it’s only the beginning.”

“This will be a model for a revitalized downtown,” Walser said.

TRITEC Co-Founder and Principal Jim Coughlan said projects like Shoregate and Station Yards in Ronkonkoma are vital as Long Island’s demographics dramatically shift away from traditional two-parent-and-children homes and toward single-person residences, which now make up more than 20 percent of households in the region.

These projects also help remedy the type of segmented neighborhood development that has made strong, vibrant downtowns so scarce on Long Island.

“We all came from Brooklyn and Queens, and when we moved out here we said we don’t want apartments and we don’t want density,” Coughlan said of Long Island’s eastward expansion. That mentality shaped communities where residential areas were separated from office space and shopping centers.

TRITEC’s reimagining of downtown residential development began in Patchogue in 2006, Coughlan said, a time when multifamily projects were “a third rail, politically.”

Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri recognized that apartments were necessary to invigorate a heavily blighted downtown and reverse the flight of young area residents. With its $112 million New Village at Patchogue mixed-use project, TRITEC helped create 6,000 local jobs, spurred business development and generated a revenue surplus for the local school district. In 2019, Patchogue was named one of the American Planning Association’s “Great Places in America.”

HIA-LI President and CEO Terri Alessi-Miceli praised TRITEC for its role in providing much-needed housing and said the benefits extend beyond young Long Islanders looking for attractive residential options.

“It’s also about people who are aging and say, ‘I don’t want to have this big house anymore, I want to go back to apartments,’” she said.

In Ronkonkoma, Station Yards will bring 1,450 apartments, 360,000 square feet of office space and a variety of restaurants and nightlife destinations to an area previously occupied by blighted industrial buildings. Together with the adjacent Midway Crossing development, the two projects will eventually link the Long Island Railroad, MacArthur Airport and the nearby Long Island Expressway. Station Yards residents will also have access to 10,000 newly created jobs at Midway Crossing’s life-sciences and healthcare facilities, convention center and hotel.

“These are high-paying, six-figure jobs, the kind of jobs we need to keep people here on Long Island,” Carpenter said. “The highly educated workforce that we pay to educate, we don’t want them to go elsewhere.”

Coughlan said Islip deserves credit for being a housing-friendly community and allowing projects like Shoregate to get off the ground.

“If you want to get a project done,” Alessi-Miceli said, “Islip and Angie Carpenter get it done.”