A developer is planning to build housing for seniors, disabled...

A developer is planning to build housing for seniors, disabled veterans and those with autism on part of the shuttered Central Islip Psychiatric Center property. Credit: Barry Sloan

A Manhasset-based developer is seeking a zoning change to build retail space and housing for seniors, disabled veterans and those with autism at the former Central Islip Psychiatric Center property.

Michael Puntillo, president of PX4 Development, has filed an application with Islip Town for property located at the southwest corner of Carleton Avenue and South Research Place. The rezoning would allow developers to construct a 130-unit residential development with retail space, known as The Aurora. The property is currently zoned as an educational campus and previously housed the New York Institute of Technology, which has not operated a full college campus at the site since 2005.

If approved, the 13.6-acre project would rehabilitate three cottages on the property, with 24 units for those with autism and disabled veterans. Developers also would construct 106 units for seniors, a medical office and an Aldi grocery store, Puntillo said. The project is expected to cost $50 million, according to PX4’s website. 

Amenities at the development would include a dog park, garden and a bocce ball court, or something similar, said senior engineering project manager Anthony Zalak of Ronkonkoma-based JR Holzmacher. Site plans also show a pool. 

An estimated 38 units would be affordable, Puntillo said. It’s unclear how much the units would cost. 

The Islip Town planning board held a public hearing last week about the proposal. Paul Pedretti, the board of directors chairman for nonprofit Autism Communities, said the project is “desperately needed.” Pedretti said 87% of adults with autism nationwide live with their aging parents and need affordable housing. 

Debra Cavanagh and Susan Pellegrino, both representing the Central Islip Coalition of Good Neighbors, urged developers at the hearing to respect the “historic value” of the property. 

Puntillo did not respond to Newsday inquiries about the proposal.

The proposal is the latest by developers who are seeking to revitalize the hamlet. State officials awarded $9.7 million in 2019 for a variety of Central Islip projects, including sewers, street upgrades, housing and retail development, hiking and biking trails and a fund to attract new businesses. After receiving a $7.2 million federal grant, the town plans to construct three-quarters of a mile of sewer pipe on Carleton Avenue next year. 

A town spokesman said the proposal must undergo an environmental impact review and will be heard before the planning board. No date has been set for the hearing.

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