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Smart-growth project takes firmer hold in Huntington

An artist's rendering shows the front of the

An artist's rendering shows the front of the proposed structure to be built at 40 Gerard Street in Huntington Village. The structure will include retail units on the first floor and apartments on the second and third. (June 13, 2013) Credit: Handout

A new smart-growth project is set to take hold in downtown Huntington on heavily trafficked Gerard Street.

Islandia-based Heatherwood Communities within weeks plans to demolish a one-story building between 32 and 42 Gerard St. and replace it with a 23,244-square-foot building with 7,000 square feet for retail on the first floor and 15,384 square feet for 12 apartments on the second and third floors.

"I've applied for the demolition and building permits, all the permits are ready to be issued," said Douglas Partrick, a principal of Heatherwood Communities, which has received a smart-growth award for its work on an adjacent building it owns. "There is just a process. All the paperwork is in."

Once he receives disconnection notices from the utility companies, Partrick said, he expects to raze the building.

Partrick said the apartments will be luxury rentals starting at about $1,800. He says market demand will determine what stores will lease the retail space.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone applauded the mixed-use plan, calling it smart for its convenience and walkability.

"This is a great project, just look at the location," he said. "These types of projects do extremely well, it's almost like having your apartment in Manhattan where you can grab a bite to eat and then meet friends right in your own neighborhood."

Petrone said another mixed-use building with retail on the bottom and 20 apartments above on two floors is also in development for the old Huntington Ice & Cube property on Stewart Avenue.

Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island, a Northport-based smart-growth nonprofit that advocates for more livable, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible growth, and which awarded Partrick's company for its work, said more mixed-use projects are needed on Long Island.

"It's exactly what other downtowns should be doing," Alexander said. "We know there is a market for these types of housing and retail units that fit within smart community-based planning."

Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce co-chairman Robert Bontempi described the renovation that Partrick's company did on the adjacent building on Gerard Street as "a great addition to the village" for its smart-growth principles for a "walkable" downtown.

"This latest project will offer the same," Bontempi said. "Plus it's going to support unions and hopefully he will source local vendors."

Partrick said he was born and raised in Huntington so he has an interest in the town that goes beyond that of a developer.

"This project would not have been possible without the cooperation of town officials who have been instrumental in having the foresight to see the importance of these projects allowing residential above retail," he said. "Kudos to them."

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