The drive to replace shuttered theaters, long-term eyesores for their communities, took another big step last week. This time, it was a former United Artists facility at the Coram intersection of Route 112 and Route 25. It's been dark for nearly a decade, but it will become apartments and retail. There's one caveat, but it's a good outcome.
Last week's announcement of plans for the site followed by a week the start of demolition at the Plaza Theatre in East Patchogue. The difference: There's an actual plan in place for Coram, but there's no developer announced for the Plaza site.
The owner in Coram had been unable to get anything done with this difficult site of almost 18 acres. For one thing, it includes wetlands, which need to be protected. Also, the intersection's complex layout doesn't offer potential retailers enough visibility from either major road.
But Community Development Corp. of Long Island and Conifer Realty of Rochester put together a plan to buy it and build 160 apartments, retail and a new connector road. They'll also pay to expand a nearby sewage treatment plant to serve the project. The caveat: The developers and public officials must make sure the plant is adequate to its expanded task, to protect our drinking water and our fragile bays.
This project is in line with the Town of Brookhaven's goal: redeveloping the blighted spots. Before we eat up more of our dwindling green space, let's fix what's gray and brown and broken.