In April, after 13 years in an older apartment building in Babylon, Alice Borden was one of the first people to move into Wyandanch Village. The new, 91-unit building at 40 Station Dr. is directly across from the Wyandanch Long Island Rail Road station, which is in the midst of a makeover and which recently opened a new parking garage.
Built by the Albanese Organization, the Garden City-based development company known for its high-end, LEED-certified condominiums and rental buildings in Manhattan, Borden's new home is in the first of two apartment buildings that will be part of Wyandanch Rising, a $500 million public/private partnership to revitalize the economically distressed hamlet.
The pioneers of the new rental building, which is just steps away from the New York-bound train platform, say they were drawn by the building's features, including open kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, as well as the reasonable prices.
Two-thirds of the building's units are considered affordable, with rents starting at $957 per month and adjusted based on income. Market-rate apartments range from $1,550 for a one-bedroom, one bathroom unit to $2,500 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. Some of the two-bedroom units have a separate space that can be used as an office.
Borden, 61, who works as a housekeeper in Stony Brook, shares a two-bedroom apartment with her 22-year-old daughter, a recent Suffolk County Community College graduate who will be attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the fall. The $1,600 rent is similar to that of their old apartment by the Babylon train station.
"Where I was, it was nice, but it was tired," Borden says. "Here, I love the walk-in closet. The bathrooms are nice and big."
There is also the promise of what's to come.
Each of the two apartment buildings will have 17,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Roslyn Savings Bank will occupy 1,600 square feet in the larger building where Borden lives, and there are plans for restaurants and other community staples, as well as a central park, that will add life to the area around the train station.
Wyandanch Rising also includes the development of a 105,000-square-foot office building and the redevelopment of the 27-acre Geiger Lake Memorial Park a half-mile away.
Gerren Nixon, 38, who lived in the Bronx until middle school, when he moved to Wyandanch, heard about the development through his mother's church and entered the lottery for one of the affordable units. There are 61 income-restricted units in the 91-unit building. There were about 600 applications for those units. Nixon recently moved with his fiancee into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment.
Nixon says he appreciates the high-end design and the diversity of the building's residents.
"Every time we see each other, we all speak to each other," Nixon says. "We know how blessed we are."
As of press time, there are eight apartments available at 40 Station Dr. for market-rate rents. Two-bedroom and one-bathroom units with extra office space and two-bedroom, two-bathroom units rent for $2,000 a month, and three-bedroom, two-bathroom units rent for $2,500 a month. Call Jeannine Principe Puleo or Orlando Frade of Douglas Elliman Real Estate at 516-354-6500.
Applications are being accepted for the 53 affordable units at 10 Station Dr., which is expected to be complete in the fall. There is no deadline. Rents start at $957 for a one-bedroom and are based on income. For example, to qualify for the $1,146 two-bedroom apartment, the maximum annual income for four people is $52,550. For an application, call Conifer Realty at 631-253-0004.
CHIC AND GREEN
Kristin Meriam and Alanna Albanese of Garden City interior design firm K&A Style decorated the model unit -- Alanna is Albanese Organization chairman Russell Albanese's daughter -- to show off the building's upscale feel. It is filled with trendy, accessible furniture from stores such as Ikea and Target.
"When we first got the project, we really wanted to create a space that was attainable for everyone living there," Meriam says. "It's not for people with massive budgets. When we had a walk-through, we saw senior citizens and young professionals, and everybody was really excited about it."
Meriam and Albanese also decorated the bright and airy community room on the ground floor, which has a modern-style couch upholstered in gray fabric as well as a flat-screen TV, and it's dominated by two long cement-topped dining tables from Crate & Barrel, lined with clear Lucite chairs. On one of the walls is an abstract painting commissioned from a local artist.
Wyandanch Village has a number of green features, including high-efficiency central heating and air-conditioning, LED lighting and built-in bike racks in each unit.
Thick windows block out noise from the train station and construction of the 86-unit apartment building at 10 Station Dr., which is expected to be completed this fall.
Susanne McKenzie, among the first people to move in, says she was impressed with the high-end fixtures, including thick wooden cabinets in the kitchen.
"Everything is brand-new and everything was tastefully chosen," says McKenzie, 44, who commutes to the East End to provide administrative support to research staff at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. "Everyone took time and effort in picking out the material, from the kitchen cabinets to the light fixtures."
McKenzie had never lived in an apartment building before, choosing to rent space in homes. She says she has been happy to find that her unit gets very little noise.
"Even though you're in an apartment building, you still feel like you have privacy," McKenzie says. "You don't really hear your neighbors."
Wyandanch Village resident Gerren Nixon says he occasionally takes the train to his job as a facilities operator for Broadridge Financial Solutions in Edgewood, accessible from the Deer Park train station, which is one stop away from Wyandanch.
"If need be, I can hop on the train and be there in three to five minutes," Nixon says. "I can get off the train and be home in two minutes."
The development is considered transit-oriented not only because the apartment building is by the train station, but also because it will eventually integrate neighborhood retail and restaurants, as well as public parks and office space, having it all be accessible via public transportation.
Nixon says he is thrilled that more businesses will be coming to the area and sees the redevelopment as a way to bring some much-needed positive energy to his community.
"It's a very exciting time," Nixon says.