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Developer hopes to rebuild 'Corner' in North Amityville

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

A developer told the Babylon Town board Tuesday he remains committed to the community's vision for the revitalization of a long-struggling corner in North Amityville.

Summit Real Estate Development Corporation of Manhattan won a request for proposals that the town sent out in 2012 to redevelop town-owned land at the intersection of Albany Avenue and Great Neck Road. "The Corner," as it is known, has long been a troubled area unable to attract commercial development, despite a brief resident-led revitalization in the late 1990s.

Although Summit agreed to adhere to a community-backed vision plan that favored medical buildings and a grocery store on the nearly three acres of property, the deal began to unravel in December when the town did not sign a contract. Town attorneys have said they became concerned after Summit said they were considering a White Castle restaurant and check-cashing business for the site.

At Tuesday's public hearing, Summit manager Jim Kaplan said he had not had negotiations with either business, saying the company has communicated with the town about possible tenants and remains dedicated to the vision for the site.

"It really comes down to what the community wants and what kind of tenants we can find," Kaplan said.

He said so far, only discount store Dollar Tree has committed to the site.

Rosemarie Dearing and Dolores Quintyne, longtime community activists and members of the town's redevelopment implementation committee, said Summit appears to be "in tune" with community needs and that the town left them "totally in the dark" about its hesitancy to move forward. They said they hope the plan proceeds.

"The community deserves better," said Quintyne, who is a member of the town planning board. "They are tired of waiting and waiting and games being played."

Town spokesman Kevin Bonner said the board expects to take action on the contract at the next board meeting on March 4 at 3:30 p.m.


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