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School near LIRR to be sold for transit-oriented development

A Smithtown school district building at 26 New

A Smithtown school district building at 26 New York Ave. near the Smithtown LIRR station, which currently houses administrative offices, may be sold for transit-oriented development. Credit: Google Maps

The administrative office of the Smithtown Central School District is for sale and is being marketed as a potential site for transit-oriented development, according to property sales materials and officials with the district.

The 13-acre property, located at 26 New York Ave. near West Main Street — State Route 25 — was formerly the location of a secondary and junior high school in the town and is currently the district’s administrative office. The 49,800-square-foot building is roughly 500 feet from the Smithtown Long Island Rail Road station. Transit-oriented developments typically offer multifamily housing units with accompanying shops near transportation hubs.

A price for the property has not been set, said Jack O’Connor, executive managing director at the Melville office of brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the broker for the property.

O’Connor said the density of a potential developer’s plan needs to be reviewed: “The density of the property will then determine the price.”

Superintendent James Grossane said amid declining school enrollment and the town’s plans to revitalize the downtown, selling the property as a potential transit-oriented development seemed to make sense.

“We’d have to see what would fit best with the community’s needs,” Grossane said. “We’re not looking to push any one particular type of project, we’re just curious to see what people would come to us with.”

If the district sells the property, the superintendent said, the administrative offices would likely be moved to the now vacant Nesconset Elementary School, which closed in 2012.

The site has residential and central business zoning, which allows for about one family home per 10,000 square feet. O’Connor said another 10.8-acre property on Browns Road in Nesconset owned by the district could also be purchased by a developer in order to transfer building rights from that property to the 26 New York Ave. site to increase building density.

While a transit-oriented development could work on the site, access to sewers would be a concern to both the county and town, said town planning director David Flynn.

Long Island Association president Kevin Law said he remains “optimistic” that a portion of state funds allocated to Long Island for infrastructure projects last year could be directed to help bring sewer lines to areas in downtown Smithtown, a measure that would help projects like a multifamily development at the Smithtown site.

“We have to be open-minded to diversifying our housing supply, because not everybody, including our younger generations, wants to own a home,” said Law, who attended junior high school in the building.

The Newmark broker team, which includes Daniel Oliver, Scott Berfas, Jordan Oliver and O’Connor, says they have received “positive feedback” from town board members over the possibility of a multifamily development at the site.

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