The Islip Town board has approved construction of a $40 million luxury condominium complex for seniors in Bayport -- part of a larger strategy to diversify the town's housing stock. The board voted unanimously Thursday night to grant a zoning change to Hauppauge-based Northwind Group, the developer of the project, to build the 148-unit development on 23.5 acres of vacant industrial land along the southeast corner of Church Street and Sunrise Highway.
"This is in accordance with the kind of mixed-housing stock that we want to develop on Long Island," Supervisor Tom Croci said. Because Islip's housing stock consists of mostly single-family homes, condos are in "high demand," he said.
Construction of the Bayport Meadow Estates -- featuring a clubhouse, swimming pool and putting green for those 55 and older -- is scheduled to begin in March 2013 with a projected completion date of September 2015, according to Jim Tsunis, owner and managing member of Northwind.
While a Tsunis representative put the cost of the project at $62.7 million when it was introduced last year, Tsunis said the project has been scaled back from 150 units but the cost has always been closer to $40 million.
As part of the approval, the developer agreed to make about $1 million in repairs to Church Street, including repaving and sidewalk construction.
"I received favorable community support for a project that made a lot of sense to the town and the residents of Bayport," Tsunis said.
Several residents testified in favor of the project, saying they preferred the condo project over an industrial development. Many also spoke of wanting elderly parents to have the option of staying in the area.
Fuat Sarayli, who lives in a 15-home development abutting the condo site, said the project is a plus for the neighborhood and the developer.
"When we first moved here, we understood that the property could be used as industrial," said Sarayli, 46, an accountant, who moved from Brooklyn to Islip eight years ago. "So in these tough economic times, to have the developer take these risks, I think it's a win-win situation for everyone involved."
Eugene L. DeNicola, a land use attorney representing the developer, said the Suffolk County Sewer Agency has granted "conceptual approval" to allow the development to connect to the county's sewer system.
Dave Genaway, Islip Town planning commissioner, recommended the board approve the project, saying the plans had also been OKd by the Suffolk County Planning Commission following a full analysis, including environmental and traffic impacts.
The two-story, two-bedroom condominiums will range in size from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet. Cost of the units will start in the low-to-mid-$400,000 range, according to the developer, with 20 percent of those -- 30 units -- designated affordable housing.