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Levy to name 2 developers for $400 million Yaphank project

Map of the proposed site

Map of the proposed site Credit: Handout

After more than two years of complex talks, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is expected Tuesday to name two developers to remake Yaphank with 1,000 units of affordable housing, a "destination" sports and entertainment venue and a solar-powered research park.

In a news conference that will be held in Yaphank Tuesday, the county executive will name Katter Development Co. and The Beechwood Organization to build the $400-million project on what is now 247 county-owned acres.

"It's going to get our young adults out of the illegal attic and basement apartment and into a decent place to live," said Levy. "When people see the beauty of this project in its final stage they'll be asking why don't we have more of these and why didn't we do it sooner."

However, Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), who represents the area, said she is "very concerned" a 1,000-unit project will overwhelm the historic Yaphank hamlet. "The population of Yaphank now is about 1,000 and this project will double that," she said.

The proposed development, Legacy Village, is scaled down from the 2,000 units originally sought by competing developers in 2007. It will consist of 785 affordable one- and two-bedroom condominiums, as well as 215 market-rate two-bedroom town house units with legal one-bedroom apartments. There will also be 72 rental units at the sports and entertainment complex.

For affordable units, starting prices would be $196,000 for a 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath, and $800-a-month rent for a 750-square-foot one-bedroom apartment. Developers have not yet priced the units that will go at market rates.

The project includes a sports and entertainment center, with a 5,500-seat indoor arena, a 5,000-seat outdoor arena and track, a 90-room hotel, four restaurants, and 75,000 square feet of office and retail space.

At the south end, a 95-acre alternative energy research and development center with a four-megawatt solar plant will generate power for the complex.

Backers also say the project will generate $5.5 million in tax revenue - $3 million of it property tax revenue for the Longwood School District. The housing, they added, will onlyadd 100 schoolchildren at a cost of $1.6 million - because Levy insisted on limiting the number of bedrooms to curb the school-age population.

Alan Gerstenlauer, Longwood school superintendent, said the school board has not taken a position, but there is a "fair amount of opposition" locally. "If it's 100 children, we could probably manage," he said. "But there are a number of people who don't believe that's accurate." Under the deal, Levy estimates the county will get more than $57.5 million in benefits including at least $15 million in cash for the property. The developers will build the indoor and outdoor arenas, which the county says is worth $34 million, and spend $2.5 million on 30 acres for public ballfields.

Levy's selection now goes to to the county legislature for approval and then developers will have to seek Brookhaven's approval for rezoning.

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