A proposal to build a mixed-use project on Farmingdale’s Main Street that was withdrawn in 2018 in the face of community opposition is returning in a revised plan in 2021.
A public hearing scheduled for Monday on The Loft at 333 Main St., a project of Hauppauge-based Staller Associates Inc., will be postponed until February or March while additional revisions are worked on, the developer said.
"Right now we’re still listening to the village’s needs and trying to figure out what they want," Cary Staller, president of Staller Associates, said in an interview. "We’ve really worked with the village to really improve the building."
The $25 million project would still include 54 apartments in a 3 1/2-story development with residences above commercial space. The original plan included a theater and required a variance because it didn’t include enough parking.
The theater is gone from the new proposal and with it the need for a parking variance, said Mayor Ralph Ekstrand.
Staller said he doesn’t have a tenant for the ground-floor commercial space but said it would not be a bar or restaurant.
Staller Associates has completed two other apartment buildings in Farmingdale in recent years: The 26-unit Lofts at 231 Main Street opened in 2017 and also has retail space; and the 27-unit Lofts at 285 Eastern Parkway opened in 2018.
The latest project is a mix of apartments that will be one- and two-bedroom units and could include studios, Staller said. The height, 43.5 feet, which drew concerns from residents at a 2018 hearing as being out of character with Farmingdale, hasn’t changed, he said.
The revised project would require much less in terms of village approval, Ekstrand said.
"He was asking for 13 variances [in 2018]," Ekstrand said of Staller. "This time he’s asking for no variances."
Earlier this month, the village board approved changes to its downtown zoning so that an entrance on Main Street to the apartments no longer would require a variance.
The village board has granted density bonuses in the past that allow developers downtown to build higher, and Ekstrand said in 2018 that the project’s additional height, density and floor-area ratio were not a problem. The village would also need to approve the reconfiguration of a connector street from Main Street to a parking lot.
Two design changes Staller said he hoped would address community concerns about the look of the project are the use of more brick to match nearby Village Hall and a "green wall" on Main Street.
The green wall "creates a sort of vertical green space," with plants growing up the front of the ground floor. "You have plants, flowers and greenery that actually grow on this vertical surface," Staller said.
Farmingdale’s recent growth has raised concerns among some residents that the village would lose its suburban character. Staller said downtown apartments attract future homeowners.
"It’s a gateway to homeownership in the community," he said. Staller added that his projects help "maintain the single-family homes in Farmingdale because we’re creating more demand and a stronger community."
Proposed Farmingdale project
Name: The Loft at 333 Main St.
Developer: Staller Associates Inc.
Commercial Space: 5,317 square feet
Source: Farmingdale Village, Staller Associates Inc.