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We'Re Group mulls possible redevelopment of Huntington Quadrangle

The We'Re Group, majority owner of the Huntington

The We'Re Group, majority owner of the Huntington Quadrangle office buildings in Melville, part of which is shown here in 2011, says it might undertake a dramatic redevelopment of the property into a mixed-use residential project. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Huntington Quadrangle, one of Long Island's oldest office parks, could become the site of a future mixed-use residential redevelopment project, said Bennett Rechler, partner at Jericho-based developer The We'Re Group, owner of two of the three buildings in the complex.

Executives at We'Re Group have been bouncing the idea around for the last few months, said Rechler. A change isn't set in stone: So far there's nothing specific about if, what or when the company would take on such a dramatic redevelopment of one or both of the four-story office buildings it owns on the property, each with about 360,000 square feet of space.

"We're looking at alternatives for the Huntington Quadrangle, but it's very, very preliminary," Rechler said. "We haven't developed any kind of preliminary site plan."

Stressing the tentative nature of a redevelopment, Rechler said, "Right now it's a napkin with a picture on it."

The subject of redeveloping the Huntington Quadrangle came up Tuesday night during a public meeting about Huntington Town's vision for Melville's future.

"Melville needs to be reinvented, and you want to do it while it's still healthy. You don't want to do it when half of it's vacant," said David Pennetta, managing broker for Cushman & Wakefield's Melville office. He was at the meeting as a member of Huntington's Melville Plan Advisory Committee, a group of local landlords, community service providers and residents.

We'Re, which also owns the Jericho Quadrangle and Lake Success Quadrangle, said consideration of a possible redevelopment comes amid continuing concerns about Melville's office market, which has been hurt by corporate tenants' exodus from Long Island.

"There's no secret there is a substantial amount of space [available] along the Route 110 corridor," Rechler said. The company's two office properties at the Quad -- the third is owned by private real estate investment firm Hines Interests LP of Houston -- have about 100 tenants, but each building is just under 80 percent occupied.

How long the company can maintain occupancy levels is of concern, said Rechler, especially given the popularity of office space in western Nassau because of its proximity to New York City.

The developer is keeping its options open for now, Rechler said. Redeveloping Huntington Quadrangle would be incredibly complicated, he said, given all the work involving planning boards, rezoning and relocation of current tenants that would have to take place.

It would be "years away before anything would happen," Rechler said.

CLARIFICATION: The We'Re Group owns two of the three buildings in the Huntington Quadrangle. An earlier version of the story used imprecise language about the ownership.


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