Featured Author

Melissa Slavin

Business Development Specialist

Bohler Engineering

  • Member, SMPS-NY
  • Member, Long Island Affiliate Committee

When SMPS LI asked Jim Powers, AIA, Director of Business Development for Bohler Engineering, to put together a panel on development, he wanted it to be different than the multitude of panels frequently put together throughout Long Island and NYC. On May 30th, at the Carlyle at the Palace in Plainview, Powers orchestrated a friendly debate between two segments of the development world; the ‘Downtown’ market, consisting of mixed-use and transit oriented developments within a downtown area and the ‘Out of Town’ market, consisting of planned mixed communities and redeveloped retail and destination projects.

On the side of Downtown development, panelists included Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island, Mayor Paul V. Pontieri Jr., Mayor of Village of Patchogue and Anthony Bartone, Managing Partner for Terwilliger & Bartone Properties. On the other distinguished panel, the ‘Out of Town’ team included Joseph Deal, PE, Principal of the NY Metro Region of Bohler Engineering, Joshua Weinkranz, President, Northern Region – Kimco Realty and Brian Ferruggiari, Director of Public Affairs for AVR Realty Company.

As Powers laid out topics that concerned both parties such as ‘organized civics’, ‘brain-drain’, affordable housing, infrastructure, ‘nimbyism’, development time-lines, straight retail vs mixed-use, sewers and other environmental and sustainable issues, the panelists discussed how each affected their current projects and proposed developments for the foreseeable future.

Alexander spoke passionately on how both sides need to hear and embrace the civics concerns and not only follow the bottom line. Pontieri, who’s responsible for the rebirth of Patchogue, discussed getting the municipal buy-in before-hand to reduce the development timeframe, as Joe Deal recalled a developer’s comment that “it took 11 years to get from concept to shovel in Glen Cove, while it took only 11 months to do the same in New Rochelle.”

“Developers have to address the needs of the whole community while formulating projects,” said Brian Ferruggiari of his ‘Meadows at Yaphank’, located out at Exit 68. His project includes different types of residential, retail and hospitality; developing a mixed-use community with their own downtown. Anthony Bartone, who developed the ‘Cornerstone at Farmingdale,’ cited that the way Long Island is organized, makes developing very difficult and time consuming. The difficulties far outweigh the positive results. He does agree, however, that developing smart mixed-use projects in downtown areas, where needed, is the right direction for Long Island to go.

Josh Weinkranz, of Kimco, one of the largest REIT’s in the country, has seen the landscape change from purely ‘out-of-town retail’ to mixed-use development that includes entertainment, high-end restaurant options and even multi-family residential possibilities. Kimco is still bullish in this development method as witnessed in their new development on Staten Island, ‘The Boulevard’, with its own multi-level main street.

Well, as the panelists debated on the development method with the best ROI and the least path of resistance, they all agreed that while developing on Long Island is difficult, the results are gratifying and it’s the best place in the world to live and the amenities, endless.