With its grand opening Thursday, the Motor Parkway Plaza in Hauppauge is full of rubble.
But it might be historic rubble, the stone and roadway of the nation’s first toll road, known as the old Vanderbuilt Motor Parkway and also the Long Island Motor Parkway. The found roadway now makes up the plaza parking lot for the center.
Excavation crews had dug only a few inches into the soil last year when they hit the road, 10-inch-thick concrete under what was to be the retail-office center. The heads of Jericho-based United Realty, which had acquired and assembled various parcels there 40 years, thought it was virgin land.
“The land was being cleared and it was ‘Hello, there’s a road here,’ ” said Gary Schacker, a principal of United Realty. “My first thought was ‘Wow, this is going to cost more money.’”
Actually, recycling the old road shaved the work bill by at least $20,000 in waste disposal fees and purchase of building materials, said the project’s green building consultant, Jimmy Carchietta, founder of The Cotocon Group in Hicksville. That dovetailed with the project’s goal to earn a Silver LEED certification, the third highest award for green building standards.
About 40 dump trucks carted away slabs of parkway and the blue-gray stone foundation under that, all of which were broken up and used to build the parking lot.
“There wasn’t a teaspoon of material that was taken off the job and didn’t come back,” said Carchietta, who had set up a concrete recycling facility in Westbury in 1995, long before that was popular.
The two men figured it was the old parkway, because the location and the use of concrete jibed with what they knew about the road, built in 1908 by millionaire William K. Vanderbuilt so he could speed in his cars and hold the Vanderbuilt Cup races.
Robert Miller, a Long Island Motor Parkway historian from Richmond Hill, said it could be the Commack to Ronkonkoma extension that the millionaire built in the 1920s. A mesh-like layer of 1/8 inch wires over the stones would indicate it was the road, he said.
With hindsight, Carchietta and Schacker said they wish they had preserved a piece of the road.
On Thursday, the owners, business leaders and representatives from the United States Green Building Council will cut a green ribbon to officially open the plaza. The green building council, which issues LEEDs, is examining the project’s application for an award.
Schacker thinks getting a LEED award will just be a matter of time. Among other green features, the center will have a zero carbon footprint when it comes to energy, with the help of a solar roof and bright white roof to bounce off sunlight, he said.
It’s United Realty’s first green project, and Schacker said there are plans to retrofit its other properties with energy-efficient systems.
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