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Jericho developer selected to 'help renew' Mastic Beach's blighted downtown

Neighborhood Road, Mastic Beach downtown's main thoroughfare, in

Neighborhood Road, Mastic Beach downtown's main thoroughfare, in 2018. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

A Jericho developer has been selected to lead a major revitalization of downtown Mastic Beach that could include a mix of new housing, offices and retail shops.

The Beechwood Organization, one of the nation's most prolific developers of residential and commercial complexes, was picked by Brookhaven Town to serve as the downtown's master developer. The town board voted 7-0 on Thursday to approve the choice.

Beechwood and town officials said they would meet over the next several weeks and months to begin crafting plans. Planning and construction are expected to take five to 10 years.

The company's fee will be based on the scale of the firm's proposal, town officials said.

"Knowing Beechwood and their body of work, they have the ability and the credentials to really accomplish what people want to see in downtown Mastic Beach," said Councilman Dan Panico, who represents the hamlet on the town board. "It really is a community on the rise."

Beechwood has built more than 7,500 housing units in over 60 projects since it was founded 35 years ago. Its local projects include developments in Yaphank, Plainview, Westbury, Southampton, East Meadow and the Rockaways in Queens.

The blighted, half-mile-long downtown — the seat of the former Village of Mastic Beach, which disbanded in 2017 amid fiscal and political struggles — has suffered from poor infrastructure such as the absence of modern sewers, which prevents new construction and expansion of existing businesses, officials and residents said.

In recent years, a new Mastic Beach Ambulance Co. headquarters opened on Neighborhood Road, the downtown's main thoroughfare, and a branch of the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library is under construction at the former village hall.

Beechwood principal Steven Dubb said new construction could include mixed uses, including buildings with first-floor shops topped by second-story apartments. But first he plans to meet with town officials and residents and "listen to them, see what they want to see."

"The plan is to plan," he said. "I think these days, building something that is really shaped by community input ... is really the way to do things on Long Island.

"We’ve got a track record of being able to help renew communities, and I hope that we can do that here," Dubb said.

Beechwood's selection was hailed by community leaders, who said downtown redevelopment was long overdue.

"It’s going to be transformative, not only for Mastic Beach but for the whole peninsula," former Mastic Beach Mayor Maura Spery said. "It’s a new day for Mastic Beach."

Frank Fugarino, president of the Pattersquash Civic Association, said redeveloping the community has been "a struggle," adding the downtown "has to be seen differently."

"Given what they [Beechwood] have done before, I have every confidence in the world that they are the right choice," he said.

Correction: Beechwood principal Steven Dubb's name was incorrect in an earlier version of the story.

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