New apartments are proposed for the 49 Wireless Blvd. property...

New apartments are proposed for the 49 Wireless Blvd. property in Hauppauge. Credit: Raychel Brightman

A Long Island developer is proposing a $125 million mixed-use building with 335 apartments in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.

The building would be the first under new Smithtown zoning that permits housing in some parts of the one-time industrial hub, a regional economic driver since the 1950s that landlords and local elected officials are trying to modernize.

East Setauket-based Tritec owns the 7.4-acre development parcel at 49 Wireless Blvd. through a subsidiary. The company owns or has built about a dozen projects in Hauppauge.

"Adding housing within the park makes our other offices that much more viable," said Chris Kelly, Tritec's vice president for marketing.

"That single-use industrial park concept is not valid anymore," he said. "Having an employment-oriented district ... where you have a mix of uses inside the park, is a concept we believe in."

Under zoning changes the Smithtown Town Board enacted in August, the developer can seek a special exception for a mixed-use building in a district that is zoned for light industry. The proposal would also require variances for height, floor area, parking and landscaping, according to documents the developer filed with the Smithtown Town Planner.

Those documents outline plans for a five-story building with 186 one-bedroom and 114 two-bedroom apartments, along with 17 studios and 18 three-bedroom apartments. Apartments would take up most of the building but include 6,000 square feet of commercial or restaurant space and 3,800 square feet of coworking space to meet the town’s mixed-use requirements. Construction would take about 29 months. Kelly said he could not predict rents but that they would be comparable to Tritec projects in Patchogue and Ronkonkoma. Ronkonkoma rents start at $2,433 for one-bedroom and $2,803 for two-bedroom apartments.

At 381,215 square feet, the new building would have about four times the indoor space as the two-story office building that now occupies the site. A supermarket wholesaler and a music and art school are current occupants, according to their websites, but Kelly said their tenancies were expiring. A woman who answered the phone at the wholesaler declined to comment and the art school could not be reached. The Tritec subsidiary bought the building in 2004 for $7 million, according to property records.

Terri Alessi-Miceli, president of HIA-LI, the association that represents businesses in the park, said the development would help meet an "urgent need for housing" on Long Island, where as many as two-thirds of current residents aged 18 to 35 said they planned to leave within the next five years. For some of her members, housing is part of a "strategy to retain and attract a real talented and competitive workforce," she said. Developers are considering proposals for other spots in the park, she said.

Smithtown Supervisor Edward Wehrheim did not respond to a request for comment, but town officials have said development under the new zoning will help meet demand for rental housing in the town, whose housing stock is primarily detached single-family homes. Smithtown’s housing costs are higher than in Suffolk County overall; the portion of households paying 35% or more of monthly income for housing is also higher.

But some civic leaders said the proposed development would bring more congestion and demand for services with a questionable payoff. "There are better uses of resources and elected officials’ time than cheerleading for industry," said James Bouklas, president of the group We Are Smithtown. "They’ve got this mantra of ‘The more you build, the more revenue you bring in’... At what point does this building pay off and our taxes come down to something approaching normal?"

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