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Suffolk, Islip seeking developer for land near MacArthur, LIRR

One proposed idea for 40 acres of land

One proposed idea for 40 acres of land north of Long Island MacArthur Airport, seen April 29, 2017, is to develop it into a transit link between the airport and the Ronkonkoma train station. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Suffolk County and Islip Town officials are seeking a master developer to oversee construction of homes or other facilities on a swath of land north of Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.

The county on Thursday issued a request for qualifications asking developers to submit bids by Dec. 15 that could lead to construction of houses, shops, a conference center or a transit link between the town-owned airport and the Long Island Rail Road’s Ronkonkoma station.

County officials hope to name a master developer early next year.

Officials said the plan came at the behest of Ronkonkoma civic leaders, who have pressed county and town officials to develop 40 acres of county-owned parking lots and vacant land south of the train station. The developer would have to find a way to keep more than 3,000 parking spaces used by LIRR commuters.

County Executive Steve Bellone said the property is an “incredible site” that should attract interest from developers.

“The community did a lot of work on developing their own ideas and own vision,” Bellone said in an interview Friday. “It’s a really important site for the community and for the county. It’s important that the community be out in front as part of the process.”

The Ronkonkoma Hub — a residential, retail and office development initiated by Brookhaven Town — is set to be built over the next decade north of the LIRR tracks.

The request lists three possible types of development south of the tracks: a residential neighborhood similar to the Hub, an entertainment or conference center, an intermodal facility linking the airport and train station — or a combination of those elements.

Ronkonkoma Civic Association President Bruce Edwards said group members recommended those proposals after a yearlong study of development ideas with staff from the Manhattan-based Regional Plan Association.

“Hopefully, something that comes from this is something the community wants, rather than something that is shoved down their throat,” Edwards said. “Whatever it is, it has to be something where the community is involved all the way through.”

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in an email the site should interest developers because it is near mass transit and local attractions, such as a minor league baseball team that plays in nearby Central Islip.

“A destination hub within close proximity of the Long Island Ducks would create the most positive economic impact, not only for the Town of Islip, but for Suffolk County and the region as a whole,” Carpenter wrote.

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