The altered plans will bring the total number of housing...

The altered plans will bring the total number of housing units at the Boulevard apartment complex in Yaphank to more than 1,000 when construction is completed in about two or three years, officials said. Credit: Courtesy of Rose-Breslin Associates

The metropolitan area’s shift away from traditional offices — as more people work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic — has prompted a change of plans at a Yaphank housing and retail complex.

The developer of the Boulevard — a $500 million development off William Floyd Parkway that includes residences, an assisted-living facility, a hotel and a shopping center — plans to build an additional 152 town homes at the complex while scrapping plans for offices and industrial spaces such as warehouses, officials announced last week during a meeting of the Brookhaven Town Board.

The altered plans will bring the total number of housing units — including town homes and apartments — at the Boulevard to more than 1,000 when construction is completed in about two or three years, said officials of Yonkers-based Rose-Breslin Associates, the project’s developer.

As part of an agreement to secure the town’s approval of the plan, Rose-Breslin said it will donate more than 100 acres of land in Manorville for open-space preservation.

Rose-Breslin originally planned to construct 935 apartments and town houses, most of which have been built and are occupied, officials said. Plans for the complex also had called for development of 550,000 square feet of commercial space, including 100,000 square feet for an assisted living facility, which has been completed.

But changes in the local economy related to the pandemic — such as a steep drop in demand for office space — prompted the company to shift its focus to adding town houses instead of developing the remaining 450,000 square feet of commercial space, Rose-Breslin spokesman Brian Ferrugiari said Monday.

"Office demand was weak pre-COVID" and has become weaker in an increasingly work-from-home world, Ferrugiari said. "You’re going to see a change in the existing office space that’s there [on Long Island]."

Construction at the 322-acre Yaphank site, which began in 2015 on the northwest corner of William Floyd Parkway and the Long Island Expressway, is mostly completed. The project has an on-site shopping center, including a Walmart Supercenter scheduled to open next month. A hotel opened at the site last year.

The town board voted 7-0 on Thursday to approve the switch to town houses. Rose-Breslin agreed to donate 152 undeveloped acres — 1 acre for each of the new units — that the company owns on Weeks Avenue in Manorville to Brookhaven Town to be preserved as open space.

"That is music to my ears." Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said, referring to the land donation. "We’re all about trying to save as much open space in Brookhaven as we can."

Besides ditching planned office space, Rose-Breslin officials decided to drop plans for industrial uses such as warehouses. Ferrugiari said that decision came in response to comments from residents at public hearings who expressed concerns about traffic that would be generated by warehouses.

He said the company estimated that switching to town houses "greatly reduces our traffic" at the complex.

"An office use is a high generator of peak rush-hour traffic," Ferrugiari said. "People all come to the office at the same time in the morning and then leave at the same time in the evening."

BOULEVARD REBOOT

Yonkers-based developer Rose-Breslin Associates has won approval to alter its Yaphank development, the Boulevard. Here’s how the complex will look under the new plan:

THEN:

935 residential units, including apartments and town houses

450,000 square feet of office/industrial space

NOW:

1,087 residential units, including apartments and town houses

No office/industrial space

TOWN HOUSE SPECS

114 units reserved for residents 55 and older.

16 units are deignated affordable or “workforce” housing, with prices established according to local median income levels.

Sale prices have not been set.

SOURCE: Rose-Breslin Associates

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