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Building Project CREATES BUZZ

Date: 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Publication: 

Newsday

Author: 

Rachel O'Brien

It will be at least 18 months before the 260-unit Tritec Real Estate development in Lindenhurst is complete, but local business leaders said investment in the downtown is already increasing, though some residents still question whether the project is the right fit for the community.

Lindenhurst Chamber of Commerce president Jo-Ann Boettcher said the development on East Hoffman Avenue across from the Long Island Rail Road station and efforts at downtown revitalization have attracted businesses.

“We have a lot of new businesses that have not only shown interest but have put in for leases on property in the village,” said Boettcher, who is also a real estate agent.

With the village’s investment in making the downtown more walkable, improving streetscapes, widening streets and revitalizing parking lots, “it’s all coming together,” she said.

Billy Miller opened Restoration Kitchen on East Hoffman Avenue in August 2018, a stone’s throw from the Tritec development, and said he anticipates more business for him and others, prompting investment in the downtown.

“I expect it to be better for the village itself and to revitalize this area that has been dormant for years,” he said.

Miller said he has seen a few more restaurants open in the neighborhood in recent months and hears lots of talk of others coming.

East Setauket-based Tritec’s $102.6 million investment, paired with the village’s downtown improvements, is attracting businesses “because they know what it’s going to be,” Miller said.

Construction on The Wel, named after 1800s real estate investor Thomas Welwood — whom the misspelled Wellwood Avenue is named for — is expected to be completed by spring 2021. It will have market-rate studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including 26 affordable housing units, and 379 parking spaces.

Buildings on the site, including the former Lakeville Kitchen & Bath, have been demolished, and Tritec is planning a formal groundbreaking on Oct. 2.

Chris Kelly, vice president in charge of marketing for Tritec, said the village has done a “phenomenal job” in preparing for the transition.

“We feel that a project like ours can bring a spotlight onto the village, but it’s up to the village to bring those new businesses in and run with it,” Kelly said.

Jason Kontakis, a real estate agent and president of the Lindenhurst Business Improvement District, echoed Boettcher’s and Miller’s sentiment that the project will be a boon for the local economy.

“From a business perspective, I’m seeing a huge uptick in interest from people wanting to come here,” Kontakis said in November, before the project kicked off.

But some see the project and positive reactions from business leaders as being motivated by greed and not by what’s best for the neighborhood.

John Lisi, president of Daniel Street Civic Association, said big changes could be problematic.

“What we are concerned about is things moving too fast and what it may bring,” he said, like increased traffic and more students enrolled in public schools.

“We will not know the outcome of this effort until it’s up and running,” Lisi said. “If it works out for the better, great.”

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS ON THE WEL

$28.6 million tax break over 30 years
$32 million in taxes to be paid over 30 years
$102.6 million investment in project from Tritec Real Estate
$5 million to $7 million in annual disposable income expected to be spent in 10-mile radius, according to the National Development Council
247 people employed during construction; 6 people permanently when the project is done

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