The Matinecock Court affordable housing project is proposed at Pulaski...

The Matinecock Court affordable housing project is proposed at Pulaski and Elwood roads in East Northport. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

The Matinecock Court affordable housing development in East Northport that won approval after 40 years of wrangling may become another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, an official said.

A year after a news conference that hailed reaching the final step in getting the $66 million community built, developers have indicated to Suffolk County officials that they are unsure if they are able to move forward with the project, Suffolk County spokesperson Marykate Guilfoyle said Monday.

County officials spoke last week with developer Les Bluestone, who cited insufficient financial support and cost escalations magnified by the pandemic, Guilfoyle said. County officials said the increased cost of lumber is also impacting the project.

The project is being developed by Bluestone’s Huntington-based Blue Sea Development, in partnership with Greenlawn-based Matinecock Court Housing Development Fund Corp., which owns the 14.5-acre property at Pulaski and Elwood roads.

Bluestone and Susan Lagville, executive director of Matinecock Court Housing Development Fund Corp., an affiliate of Housing Help Inc., a nonprofit housing advocacy organization, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Town of Huntington spokeswoman Lauren Lembo said building permits issued for the project recently expired, indicating the documents were over three years old. New applications would have to be made, she said.

Despite the latest setback, state and county officials remain committed to the project.

""The county remains fully committed to the Matinecock Court affordable housing project," Guilfoyle said. "The county will continue to engage with the developers and other stakeholders to provide any viable assistance that is available."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, surrounded by housing advocates, signed legislation committing funding to the development at a packed news conference Dec. 4, 2019, at the Long Island Builders Institute in Hauppauge.

The project, which was first proposed in 1978, was opposed for decades by the local community amid racist overtones. The Huntington branch of the NAACP sued the town over violations of the federal Fair Housing Act. The case made it to the Supreme Court, where a lower-court ruling was upheld.

The county had pledged $2.6 million to meet the developers' last financial obstacle before they said they could build. About $2.2 million would come from the Suffolk County Housing Opportunities Program for infrastructure improvements, and $400,000 is earmarked for sewer infrastructure under the Suffolk County Sewer Infrastructure Pilot program.

Plans for Matinecock Court call for 17 two-story residential buildings with 146 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, 70 of which will be rental units and the rest for homeownership.

Brian Butry, New York State deputy commissioner for Public Information and Communications, said the Department of Housing and Community Renewal has committed funds to the project over the years, including $3 million awarded in December 2019 through the agency’s Affordable Housing Corporation’s Affordable Home Ownership Development Program for the 76 homeownership opportunities and increased tax credit allocation for the project in fall 2019 to cover cost increases.

"This administration is committed to providing Long Islanders with access to safe, affordable housing in a comprehensive approach that includes multifamily and single-family housing and community development with projects like Matinecock Court," Butry said.

Matinecock Court

  • A community comprised of 17 two-story residential buildings with 146 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.

  • The 70 rental units will include one non-rent bearing superintendent unit and 69 affordable rental units, eight units of which will be designated for eligible individuals as determined by the Office for People with Development Disabilities (OPWDD). The 76 homeownership units will include four affordable homeownership units as per Suffolk County’s Housing Opportunities Programs.

  • The complex will also include a clubhouse and sewage treatment plant.

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