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Developer unveils option for Huntington Station revamp

A cleaners at the Long Island Rail Road station, a restaurant row and a place to meet and greet with live entertainment are among the top community businesses Huntington Station residents say they want.

Those were the findings of a nearly yearlong study by Renaissance Downtowns, the Plainview-based master developer the town selected last April to revitalize Huntington Station. The results of the study, the Huntington Station Development Strategy, were unveiled Friday.

"This lays out everything that we have done and heard back from the community about what they want to see in their community," Sean McClean, vice president of planning and development for Renaissance Downtowns LLC, said.

A website set up by Renaissance to allow members to propose and vote on suggestions has a list of 79 ideas.

Renaissance has already completed feasibility studies on voters' favorite retail ideas, which include a book shop, cafe and performance space; a railroad station retail cluster; a fresh fruit and vegetable stand; and a restaurant row. A feasibility study on a coffee house is ongoing.

Other popular ideas garnering support also include bike lanes, apartments and condos above stores, day care for seniors and children, a diner, and a drive-through wedding venue on the site of a former Dairy Barn.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone applauded the strategy.

"This lays out the blueprint for all stakeholders, including civic groups, community members and government officials, and is a tremendous effort by Renaissance," he said.

The developer is also considering plans to build a 125- to 175-room hotel/restaurant at New York Avenue and Railroad Street.

Renaissance Downtowns currently owns and operates Marriott Residence Inn in Plainview.

Renaissance's plan covers an area from 11th Street on New York Avenue north to High Street. Renaissance officials declined to discuss the estimated cost of the project.

The developer plans to continue soliciting ideas from stakeholders while fine-tuning the development strategy.

Brandon Palanker, vice president of marketing and public affairs for Renaissance Downtowns, said that once things start moving, change will come quickly, possibly by next year.

"I think we are looking for a seven- to ten-year build," he said. "I think you will see significant effort in the first three to five years where Huntington Station will be a re-imagined and reinvented place."

The development strategy officially will be presented at the 2 p.m. May 7 town board meeting. That evening, the developer is expected to hold an information session on the project at Town Hall.

"Everyone has been waiting to see what plans and data Renaissance has assembled on revitalizing Huntington Station," Keith Barrett, president of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District, said. "We're ready to see what they have come up with."

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