Signs point to one Ronkonkoma Hub developer

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Months after Brookhaven officials chose TRITEC Real Estate as master developer for their part of the Ronkonkoma Hub project, signs point to Islip leaders picking the East Setauket-based firm for their side as well.

The Islip Town Board is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution to authorize Supervisor Tom Croci to enter into negotiations with TRITEC.

Town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said that while there are clear advantages to using the same developer, the town is keeping open its options.

"This resolution doesn't give anyone exclusive rights to this project, but it does show interest on the Town of Islip's part to work with TRITEC," Birbiglia said. "We've had a very good relationship and good communication with Brookhaven on this project all along, so it's natural to consider the advantage of a master developer for the entire project."

The two towns forged an intermunicipal agreement last fall and announced plans for the proposed $350 million redevelopment of the Ronkonkoma train station into a 50-acre mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly district that would encompass parts of both municipalities.

Officials said the historic collaboration would be well-served by having one master developer.

"It's an exciting development. It's a huge step forward," said Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko, who said he spoke with Croci about the project on Thursday. Brookhaven's board in February selected TRITEC as master developer for their part of the project, and it was widely expected Islip would follow suit.

"It's directly paralleling our process," Lesko said. "The reason they were able to do this so quickly is because they had a presence on our design committee. This is obviously big news, but this is also historic. Two towns in a municipal agreement and also using the same master developer, it broadens the impact of this project tremendously."

Islip Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, who sat on the design committee in Brookhaven and during the process of vetting development companies, said she favored TRITEC because of their solid financial profile and unique design ideas.

"TRITEC came out on top, I think, for everyone in the room, so we're excited to have this one company really giving a solid intermunicipal vision to the planning of the Ronkonkoma Hub," she said Friday.

TRITEC chief operating officer Rob Loscalzo said the company looks forward to developing specific plans for Islip.

"We want to work with the town . . . to determine what they would like to see there and how it can complement the vision that is going on in the Town of Brookhaven's side," he said.

The Islip Town Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Town Hall, 655 Main St.

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