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Mixed-use development in Farmingdale gets OK

This is an artist's rendering of the Bartone

This is an artist's rendering of the Bartone Plaza development in downtown Farmingdale. Developer Anthony Bertone is developing the 1.9 acre property, which will include 115 apartment units with additional retail space. Credit: Handout

A mixed-use apartment building, part of a planned $38 million complex at the heart of Farmingdale's downtown revitalization plans, has received final approvals from village officials.

"Let the building begin," Deputy Mayor Patricia Christiansen said Monday after the village board voted 5-0 for the special-use permit.

The 39-apartment building, which is to include 6,200 square feet of retail space, is the smaller of two matching mixed-use projects along Secatogue Avenue near the Long Island Rail Road station.

The building replaces a 85-room Hilton hotel once envisioned as the second half of the development.

Developer Anthony Bartone of Farmingdale had said it was difficult to secure financing for the hotel and has partnered with national development company TDI, of Irving, Texas, to plan a second mixed-use building.

Bartone on Monday said that in exchange for exceeding density limits set in village code, developers would improve a corner park, relocate an antique village clock to the park, bury power lines on a nearby street and install an electronic parking meter.

Developers will also pay the village cash bonuses. For the smaller, mixed-use building and a land swap with the village, that payout is $6,500 annually for years two through 10 and afterward, $5,000 annually in perpetuity, as well as a separate $15,580 regular cash incentive bonus annually for years two through 10.

Construction on the larger mixed-use building, with 115 apartments and 13,200 square feet of retail space, is to begin in late May or early June, Bartone said Tuesday. Construction on the smaller building is set to begin in September, he said.

"To say we're thrilled is an understatement," Bartone said Tuesday of the approvals, citing a six-year planning process with the village.

The Bartone project is among smart-growth, transit-oriented developments Farmingdale has sought to modernize and reinvigorate its downtown area. It has been received with cautious optimism by residents, who generally applaud the project but worry about traffic and marketability.

Mayor Ralph Ekstrand has expressed confidence in the project. On Monday, he told Bartone and his colleagues, "You've been approved," and paused dramatically before adding, "for real."

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