Babylon Town officials have released a short list of master developers for a portion of the Route 110 corridor, but New York State's plans to ramp up activity at nearby Republic Airport could affect the project.
The shortlisted companies are Plainview-based Renaissance Downtowns and Blumenfeld Development Group of Syosset, companies with extensive experience in the region.
Along with the announcement earlier this month came a request from town officials to the companies under consideration: How might a remade Republic Airport affect the area of East Farmingdale around Route 110 and Conklin Street, where the town hopes $1 billion of residential, retail and commercial building will take place?See alsoStew Leonard's coming to LIStoryLabor union criticizes AvalonBay developerStoryDeveloper to be chosen for $1B plan
Plans for the state-owned airport, first floated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the fall, include introducing commercial air service. Only recreational and business flights are supported now.
Under the state proposal, a private company would buy or take over long-term management of the airport, now managed by the state Department of Transportation, with the state offering what it hopes will be a powerful inducement: the right to develop six state-owned parcels totaling 50 acres of land on or near the airport.
Companies on that land meeting certain requirements would pay no state or local taxes for 10 years. Their employees would pay no income taxes for the first five years and limited taxes for the next five.
Another consideration for the town and its potential partners is that one of the state-owned parcels -- the 12.5-acre site of a former Fairchild Republic plant building on the north side of Conklin Street -- could be key to their project, since it is adjacent to a former Long Island Rail Road Republic station that town planners hope will one day reopen to serve residents and commuters.
A spokeswoman for the governor said last week that four companies have expressed interest in taking over the airport, and a contract could be awarded after 45 days. She declined to name the companies, citing state procurement rules.
Development at the airport could increase demand on infrastructure around Route 110, where 120,000 vehicles move a day. It could also offer opportunities for synergy with the town project.
"Finding the best operator for Republic provides tremendous opportunity," said Brandon A. Palanker, vice president of marketing and public affairs for Renaissance Downtowns.
A Blumenfeld spokesman wrote in an email that the company was revising project materials submitted to the town based on the state's plans for the airport.
Town officials have not taken any position on airport development beyond saying that "it opens a whole spectrum of new possibilities," as Jonathan Keyes, the town's director of downtown revitalization, put it recently.
Officials did say, though, that residents should be involved with the planning for any work there.