By Danny Schrafel
The Huntington Town Board voted on Tuesday to delay a decision on whether to adopt the first piece of a large-scale revitalization project for Huntington Station pending feedback from the New York State Department of Transportation.
The board voted to give itself an additional 90 days to consider master developer Renaissance Downtowns’ Huntington Station Gateway Neighborhood plan, which would yield a hotel, artists’ lofts and a mixed-use building.
Town spokesman A.J. Carter said the town is awaiting a formal response from the state Department of Transportation related to state environmental review requirements.
“SEQRA requires a coordinated review with all interested agencies. DOT is included because of Route 110 and because they own some rights of way,” Carter said. “Because of understaffing, DOT is usually slow in responding. This gives DOT time to do their response.”
The Gateway Neighborhood revitalization plan, drawn from Renaissance’s Huntington Station development strategy, calls for the construction of a 140-room boutique hotel a 100,000 square-foot office building in a municipal parking lot near the Huntington Long Island Rail Road station, 49 artists’ lofts along Route 110, and mixed-use development near Gateway Plaza, located at 1000 New York Ave.
Should the three projects come to fruition, Ryan Porter, vice president of planning and development at Renaissance Downtowns, has said they stand to generate $1.5 million in new tax revenue, with $875,000 earmarked for the Huntington School District. They are also expected to generate 325 construction jobs and about 300 permanent jobs, resulting in tens of millions of dollars of economic activity, he said.
Later, an additional 16,000-square-foot commercial building is planned for a parcel at the corner of Northridge Street and Route 110, and 68 studio and one-bedroom apartments are proposed to be built over 16,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space on the ground floor.
As a result of a community benefits agreement adopted in January, 25 percent of construction and contracting jobs will go to Town of Huntington residents, and 25 percent of the new hires for the permanent, non-construction jobs will likewise be filled by locals. In each case, Huntington Station residents will receive top preference, with a general preference going to Town of Huntington residents.
An anticipated $250,000 in fees will be dedicated to funding community centers, crime prevention, education, emergency services and youth programs.
Porter previously said ample parking will remain once construction is complete. Based on 44 time counts conducted during three different months, Porter said of 3,465 currently existing parking spaces, 3,145 are used during the peak hours, mid-day during the week.
Of that excess, the artists lofts would take up about 100 spaces, Porter said. While the hotel would take up 180 parking spaces, Porter said reconfiguring parking lots would result in gaining about 180 spaces, making it essentially a wash and leaving with the net peak excess at about 220 spaces.
Porter said Renaissance is hoping the SEQRA review will be completed within the month. Once their SEQRA review is complete and adopted by the town, the developer can pursue financing, tenants and site plan approval, Porter said Wednesday.