Suffolk County legislators on Tuesday approved a resolution that will grant Tritec Development Group LLC approximately $2.5 million to offset the cost of the affordable housing units coming to the development at the former Touro College site in Bay Shore.
The funding, through Suffolk County’s Affordable Housing Opportunities Program, will offset the cost of acquisition on the property at 1700 Union Boulevard, where affordable housing units will be built. The bill was approved 6-1 by the county’s Economic Development Committee last week.
Approximately 418 mixed-use apartment units are expected to be constructed by Tritec on the roughly 10-acre property. Of those units, 84 of them are designated to be affordable housing.
In September 2020, the Town of Islip approved a change of zone from a business district to a downtown development district, which gave the green light on the $165 million development project.
Suffolk County Legislature presiding officer Rob Calarco said Suffolk’s affordable housing program is defined as “providing housing to individuals who make up to 80 percent of area-making income.” The rent that an owner charges on the units cannot exceed what [the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] would consider affordable for an individual in that income category, Calarco said.
Legis. Steve Flotteron (R-West Islip) said that the Tritec complex, a “higher-end development,” will offer more diverse housing options in the community.
“Bay Shore always has been a home for all economic and social groups,” Flotteron said. “I think this will ensure we maintain everyone. We have affordable [units], middle-class, and this will be an upscale development.”
Flotteron added that the new apartments will benefit the local economy and help struggling businesses on Main Street.
Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-East Islip) said the Bay Shore community, particularly those in the downtown area, support the project.
“Tritec does a very good job of working with community leaders and members of the community to address concerns and ensure that their developments are aesthetically pleasing and as complementary to the look and feel of the community as can be,” Cilmi said.
Over 80 community members last year submitted letters of support to the Islip Town Planning Board in support of the project. But it previously received some negative feedback from Bay Shore School District officials, who had stated that the district was opposed to the project because of the potential influx of students and the impact of the tax relief sought by the developer.
Calarco said he believes that since construction would make the property privately owned, it would put it back on the tax roll and thus provide more revenue to local schools.
Tritec is required to adhere to contract guidelines and show the county that they are abiding by the established criteria, Calarco said. If Tritec violates the contract, it could result in prosecution.
Before it was the Touro College health sciences building, the property served as a local school in the late 1800s. It was later converted into the county-owned property which housed Suffolk County Social Services and more. It’s rumored that the Touro College health sciences program will merge with the Touro Law Center, located on Eastview Drive in Central Islip.
The new apartment complex will include a fitness center, a game room, a lounge and more for residents.
The county has, for over a decade, operated two affordable housing programs, Calarco said. Suffolk has helped subsidize other projects in Bay Shore, he said, like the LGBT Network’s affordable housing downtown.
Tritec, based in East Setauket, has been behind numerous downtown revitalizations throughout Suffolk County, including New Village in Patchogue and the Ronkonkoma Hub.
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