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Developer abandons plans for senior housing project in Syosset

The developer who owned the 5.7 acre site

The developer who owned the 5.7 acre site at 80 Jericho Tpke. in Syosset, which had been a mobile home park, said he decided to sell and has closed on the deal with an investment company that specializes in outdoor storage. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A proposed mixed-use residential project on the site of a former mobile home park in Syosset has been scrapped and the property sold to an investment company that specializes in outdoor storage, the former owner said.

Woodbury developer Paul Laruccia had sought Oyster Bay Town Board approval for a special-use permit and a zoning change to build 61 units of senior housing and 44 market-rate rental apartments and commercial space. Laruccia said that after a Jan. 28, 2020, town board hearing on the project, he answered questions from the town but couldn’t get an official approval or denial.

"We never really had an answer. We had an informal ‘It’s not going to happen,’ " Laruccia said. "It was five years of planning and moving everything along. When we heard that, we figured you know what, it’s time to move on."

The informal notification came last November through his attorney, he said. After looking at other possibilities for the 5.7 acre site at 80 Jericho Tpke., Laruccia said he decided to sell and that the deal closed last week. Manhattan-based Simi Capital and Cerberus Capital Management purchased the property for slightly less than $15 million, Laruccia said. A company controlled by A. Paul Laruccia Construction Corp., 80 Jericho Turnpike LLC, purchased the property in 2016 for $10.1 million from STP Associates LLC.

Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin wrote in an email Wednesday that the town board had communicated questions through the town attorney to Laruccia’s attorney, asking whether the project density could be reduced, differences in height of the buildings lessened and whether there was an alternate egress to a side street.

"The questions have gone unanswered by the developer for months and therefore the Town Board has not taken action on the application," Nevin wrote.

Laruccia said his company had answered several rounds of questions raised by the town and was not aware of inquiries regarding density or height. He said the egress question may have referred to the ability of a fire engine turning around on a cul-de-sac on the property, but he said that had been engineered to not be a problem.

"We accounted for all their comments," he said Wednesday.

The sale leaves the future of Village Heros, a sandwich shop on the site, uncertain. Owner Scott Merandi, who said the family-owned eatery expects to celebrate its 50th anniversary in February, said no one has informed him about the sale.

"Hopefully they build something so that we can stay," Merandi said, adding that if they are forced to move, "I can’t even see us staying in Syosset."

Laruccia’s project would have been the first since 2015 to be rezoned in the town under its Golden Age program for seniors. That program, which sets income and resale requirements on the units to keep them affordable, has been the subject of a 2014 federal housing discrimination lawsuit filed against the town. The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that residency requirements in the Golden Age program and a separate first-time homebuyer program are discriminatory. The town has denied the allegations and the lawsuit is ongoing.


2016: Last residents of mobile home park evicted and property sold to developer

2020: Oyster Bay Town Board holds public hearing on a 105-unit residential and commercial proposal

2021: Property sold to outdoor storage company

Sources: Newsday archives; Town of Oyster Bay; A. Paul Laruccia Construction Corp.

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