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Babylon Town moves ahead with 'corner' redeveloper

Babylon Town officials are considering proposals to build

Babylon Town officials are considering proposals to build at a North Amityville intersection, shown on Feb. 21, 2013, infamous for its open-air drug trade. Credit: Johnny Milano

The Town of Babylon has decided it will continue to work with a Manhattan company to redevelop a notorious corner in North Amityville.

The town last month held a public hearing to determine whether it should rescind a contract offer made in 2013 to Summit Real Estate Development Corp. The company was the winner of a request for proposals that went out in 2012 to redevelop town-owned land at Albany Avenue and Great Neck Road. Known as "The Corner," the intersection had long been a hotbed of crime and neglect until residents joined forces with police to clean up the area in the 1990s. Businesses moved in but the area continued to struggle, with a Rite Aid closing there in 2010.

Summit agreed to abide by a community vision plan that favored tenants such as a grocery store and medical offices. But town officials called for a public hearing after they said Summit had mentioned possibly putting a White Castle restaurant and check cashing business on the nearly three acres of property. At the hearing, Summit manager Jim Kaplan said he had never engaged in negotiations with either business and was committed to the community plan. He told officials Dollar Tree was the only potential tenant so far.

In a statement, Kaplan said "it was good to once again reaffirm in person to the Town and to the community what our ideas and intentions have always been. We feel certain now that we are all on the same page with the same vision."

Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer said he was now satisfied with Kaplan's commitment to the project.

"This was important to do to put them back on the record again," he said. "Now if they don't comply, we have them on record."

Community activist and Babylon Town planning board member Delores Quintyne said she was relieved the town was sticking with Summit and would not have to restart the bid process, leading to further delays. "I just want to see this move ahead in a positive manner," she said.

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