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Master developer sought for Wyandanch

The Town of Babylon is taking the next major step in its massive Wyandanch Rising revitalization by beginning the search for a master developer for the project.

The town has issued a request for qualifications for the redevelopment project. The RFQ seeks to prequalify developers, who then will be invited to respond to a request for proposals for the downtown redevelopment project, which will include transit-oriented redevelopment around the LIRR station and a variety of housing types, commercial properties and public "green" spaces.

In its evaluation of the RFQs, the town will focus on the developer's relevant experience, financial capacity and references, said Babylon spokesman Tim Ruggeri. The deadline for the RFQ is 3 p.m. on March 18.

The town has been working on Wyandanch Rising for nearly nine years, hoping to bring life back to a downtown plagued by crime and a loss of businesses over the past few decades. The town has estimated the cost at $500 million, much of which it has said will come from private investment.

The town has stressed that it is seeking quality work and is looking for firms with experience on similar projects. Based on the firm's past projects, the town last year hired Maryland-based Torti Gallas and Partners to design the redevelopment for $750,000, a higher price than other firms offered. The town also signed an $80,000 consulting contract with Jeff Speck, planner and author of the acclaimed "Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream."

Last month, the town hired PB Americas Inc. in Manhattan to complete the design of the Wyandanch Intermodal Facility for $2.4 million. Of the seven firms that responded to that RFP, five came in with bids lower than that of PB Americas, one of which was $1 million less.

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