For years, developers have been using the term "smart growth" to describe the ideal communities for everyone from young professionals to downsizing baby boomers.
Many of Long Island's newest developments, expected to start leasing or breaking ground within the next year, follow through on that vision to create walkable neighborhoods that are close to transportation and feature a mix of residential and retail.
"It's been talked about on the Island for a number of years, but it's finally becoming a reality," says Mitchell Pally, chief executive of the Long Island Builders Institute trade group. "The integration of uses in the same development -- that is the future of development on the Island."
Pally's group brought together builders last week in Hauppauge to talk about their latest projects:
NEW VILLAGE AT PATCHOGUE
This new high-end development a couple of blocks from the Patchogue Long Island Rail Road station has 291 units and 30,000 square feet of retail space spread out among five buildings. Amenities include a pool, fitness center, outdoor fireplaces, barbecue area and Wi-Fi throughout.
Construction is nearing completion, and leasing is expected to start in the late fall or early winter, with move-in six months later. Rents will range from $1,350 for studios to $2,900 and up for three bedrooms.
"Patchogue has that main street, and a community is really coming along," says Christopher Kelly, a spokesman for Tritec Real Estate, the developer. "I think this is a culmination of a lot of the redevelopment of that area."
AVALON BAY, HUNTINGTON STATION
One of AvalonBay's newest luxury developments, under construction in Huntington Station, features a clubhouse that's on an "island," surrounded by man-made ponds.
"It's going to be pretty dramatic and kind of cool," says Christopher Capece, senior development director of AvalonBay Communities Inc.
Other amenities in the 379-unit complex, a mix of rentals and for-sale units, include a fitness center, swimming pool and easy access to the Huntington Long Island Rail Road station. The clubhouse and first residential buildings are expected to be done by the beginning of next year.
DOUBLEDAY COURT, GARDEN CITY
A three-story condominium complex in Garden City is looking to capture the spirit of Manhattan living. The complex will be a short walk to restaurants on Seventh Street. The developer, The Engel Burman Group, expects to break ground later this year.
"People in Garden City are very interested in remaining there," says Ellen Antonucci, vice president of sales and marketing for The Engel Burman Group. "They love it so much."
The two-bedroom, two bathroom residences, which range in price from $650,000 to $690,000, feature high-end finishes, including stainless-steel appliances, stone countertops and European-inspired cabinetry. Of the 54 homes, 28 already are in contract, Antonucci says.
A $2.5 billion redevelopment plan aims to revitalize what was once considered Nassau County's downtown. The master developer, Plainview-based Renaissance Downtowns, expects to break ground at the beginning of next year on 336 apartments, the first of nearly 3,500 units over 100 acres.
Everything will be within a half-mile of the train station and transit center, including ground-floor retail, with the zoning changed to allow "light industrial" uses, such as a bakery or furniture maker that has a retail component, says Sean McLean, vice president of planning and development for Renaissance Downtowns.
An agreement with the village requires the developers to make efforts to give the first 25 percent of construction and permanent jobs to village residents and 25 percent of contracts to local or minority contractors.
"It's a holistic approach to how to revitalize the downtowns on Long Island," McLean says.
THE PLAZA AT FARMINGDALE
Proximity to transit is a big selling point for this luxury development, expected to open in 2015 near the Farmingdale train station.
"Our residents will be able to wait for the train in the lobby of their own building," says developer Anthony Bartone of Bartone Properties.
One building, across the street from the train station, will have 39 apartments and 6,200 square feet of retail space, while the larger structure next to the station will have 115 apartments and 13,200 square feet of retail space.
Rents will range from $2,000 to more than $3,000 a month, with 10 percent of the units reserved for affordable or workforce housing. Along with a theater room, fitness room and courtyards with barbecues, the development will have an amenity more likely to be found in a hotel -- a business lounge with free coffee, Wi-Fi and the ability to conduct conference calls.
"We find that these are gaining momentum, popularity wise," Bartone says.