Construction has started on a $5 million medical research building in the Village of The Branch in Smithtown, which will house a North Shore-LIJ Health System diagnostic imaging center and will be the new headquarters for MIDI, a Ronkonkoma-based health-care consulting firm.

The developer of the 15,100- square-foot facility -- located at 226 Middle Country Rd. -- is Whitetop Mountain Professional Properties, which shares ownership with MIDI. The one-story building is expected to be completed by December, said Gregory Montalbano, a principal at Whitetop and a co-owner of MIDI.

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"Our family has developed several commercial and medical properties in the past, and Whitetop was formed specifically for this project," Montalbano said.

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MIDI -- short for Montalbano Innovation & Development Inc. -- provides product research and development services for early-stage health-care and biotech products. Clients include large companies such as GE Healthcare, Siemens and Johnson & Johnson.

North Shore will occupy 10,000 square feet in the facility and expects to move in sometime in January or February following a regulatory licensing process, said Cynthia Kubala, vice president of imaging services for North Shore-LIJ. The new location, which will provide MRI, CT scanning and ultrasound procedures, will be the eighth such location the health system has opened on Long Island.

The new facility is being built by general contractor Stalco Construction of Islandia.