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AvalonBay Huntington Station holds grand opening

The AvalonBay development on East Fifth Street in

The AvalonBay development on East Fifth Street in Huntington Station is shown on Jan. 7, 2014. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Officials from AvalonBay Huntington Station recently hosted a grand opening for the 379-unit development.

Brandishing a Newsday front page with a headline that declared "Rejected" and dated Sept. 22, 2010 -- the day after the Huntington Town Board voted down a proposed 490-unit development -- senior vice president of development for AvalonBay Communities Matt Whelan said Wednesday's celebration was the culmination of a tough fight.

"We love that we're providing a new housing option for people in this area, and Huntington Station needed it," Whelan said.

The development on East Fifth Street was finally approved for 379 units, but not before the project polarized the community.

Whelan said demand has been high, with about 230 of the 303 rental apartments occupied and a waitlist for apartments that have not been completed. The 43 affordable units -- for which tenants were selected by lottery -- are leased.

The often ugly battle to get the development approved was "100 percent worth it," town board member Mark Cuthbertson said.

"When you look at projects like this, you have to take the long view, which is: Young people are going to live here and stay in the community and that's going to allow the neighborhood to be sustainable and thrive," he said.

Next up to be built on the site are 76 for-sale townhome units. Jericho-based Beechwood Organization will be the developer. Michael Dubb, principal of Beechwood, said the company expects to break ground in early 2015.

"I think the Town of Huntington and the area around that is a terrific area," Dubb said. "It's one of the hubs of Long Island, and I think we're going to do great there."

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said the development is an asset to the community. "When we slated this, we knew this would help the station and raise its economic climate for investors and businesses to come," Petrone said.

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