Developer bids sought for mixed-use hub

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Brookhaven officials launched the last component of the town's search for a developer for the massive Ronkonkoma Hub project Monday by requesting qualifications from developers.

A conference and site tour for interested developers is scheduled for Oct. 4, with formal applications due Oct. 28. The town expects to select a master developer by Dec. 7.

A few companies, the names of which were not released, picked up the 110-page application, Brookhaven Town officials said.

The Hub project aims to turn the Ronkonkoma train station and 50 surrounding acres into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use community with housing, retail and office space.

The goals are "to create new businesses and jobs, expand the property tax base, keep young people from leaving Long Island, encourage the use of mass transit, and create a regional destination," the application indicates.

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The chosen master developer is expected to work on a related transit-oriented project with the Town of Islip and Long Island MacArthur Airport on another 50 acres near the Hub site. As Newsday reported Monday, Islip and Brookhaven officials have forged an intermunicipal agreement formalizing the collaboration between the towns.

The town boards are expected to vote separately Tuesday at their respective board meetings on the agreement.

The cooperative effort between Suffolk's two largest towns could create hundreds, possibly thousands, of jobs, Islip Supervisor Phil Nolan and Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko have said.

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During the previous phase of the Hub selection process this summer, four developers submitted expressions of interest to the town: Renaissance Downtowns of Plainview, TRITEC Real Estate of Setauket, Jobco of Great Neck, and Jones Lang LaSalle of Chicago.

In their applications, interested developers must present their qualifications, such as their vision for the Hub's design, why they are most qualified to steer the project and their ability to handle the project financially.

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