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Advantage Downtown

Positive changes are coming to Long Island's downtowns. Learn about what other communities are working on and how you can help improve your downtown business district.

As we head into Memorial Day weekend and the summer months lets take a moment and respect the importance Long Island’s downtowns have in our communities.  Small businesses, parks, events, arts, culture, and many religious and community gatherings center around our downtowns.  The good news is that there are thousands of Long Islanders actively making positive changes to these great places. 

There are folks working now to organize events, open shops, beautify the local streets, renovate and redevelop buildings and improve public safety.  We wanted this blog to continue the discussion of the benefits and strategic advantages of LI’s downtowns and this first post to address some of the recent efforts to bring housing to our downtown business districts. 

A large part of the market, especially young people and baby boomers, want to live in walkable, vibrant downtowns with easy access to transit. This “Smart Growth” model depends on bringing housing into our downtowns to support local small businesses and to bring life to the street.

There have been over 6,000 units of this form of housing approved in downtowns over the last 6 years.

Glen Cove recently approved a large-scale waterfront redevelopment that will build on 56 acres of former industrial land. “Glen Isle” will include retail, office, open space, parks, trails, restaurants, cultural amenities, a hotel and 860 units of housing--with a mix of rentals and owner-occupied condos. Glen Cove will also soon have a “Piazza” with 142 rental units surrounding a European-style public plaza. Glen Cove’s Mayor ushered in these and other recent approvals with help from a master plan document that he worked to approve in 2009.

Patchogue may be the poster child for new housing in a downtown, with built projects over the last 10 years such as Copper Beech (80 affordable rental townhouse units), Artspace (45 artist loft live/work apartments), and The River Walk (163 owner-occupied townhouse units), with more on the way including New Village (292 apartments and mixed-use development).

Just as impressive is Westbury Village, which has built over 800 units of housing in their downtown in recent years with little fanfare, ranging from townhouses to apartments. The renovation of their downtown theater is almost complete, and as an extra bonus the theater will have 6 live/work apartment units upstairs.

Bay Shore is moving forward with several redevelopment projects, anchored by the 26-unit Chelsea Place project located right next to the train station.

Huntington Station has approved a 379 unit project, while within the Village smaller housing projects are on the way including a 6-unit infill rental project.

Hempstead Village has long sought revitalization, and with the designation of Renaissance Downtowns as Master Developer, they are well on their way to bringing more housing and sustainable land uses into their downtown.

And in Farmingdale, a long-stalled community-driven vision plan is moving forward with the approval of a mixed-use zoning code that will allow more housing to be built around Main Street, including apartments over stores. Bartone Plaza will build apartments and retail space at an old warehouse near the train station, as well as a downtown hotel across the street.

We anticipate more long-awaited downtown improvements to move forward in Farmingdale and other downtowns across Long Island in the coming months and years.  Send us your thoughts on what can improve your downtown and some examples of projects you or your friends or neighbors are working on to ea@visionlongisland.org

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Patchogue May 31, 2012 at 12:51 AM
This guy is a developers shill. Contractors Complain About 'Smart Growth' Director - Group says his work constitutes lobbying the Long Island Contractors' Association has asked state ethics officials to investigate whether Alexander is actually lobbying rather than simply expressing his opinions. http://huntington.patch.com/articles/contractors-complain-about-smart-growth-director
Patchogue May 31, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Great. Let's build a community based on low income housing, on the water none the less.
Lee May 31, 2012 at 02:15 AM
If anyone is gullible enough to read this nonsense and think that "Eric" is just blogging about Smart Growth because it's such an interesting subject then....whatever....shall we sell that person a bridge in the desert? This is pure propaganda and the next time "Eric" BLOGS, I suggest we ignore his nonsense and leave no comments. Like we do with other bloggers who just write twaddle.
Bob May 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM
Let's see....what do the following "organizations" have in common...the Long Island Association....the Long Island Index....Vision Long Island....the Long Island Housing Partnership....the Long Island Builder's Association.....can you take a wild guess??......right!!! They ALL PUSH HIGH DENSITY "AFFORDABLE" HOUSING ON LONG ISLAND!!!! ALL IN THE NAME OF "SMART GROWTH"!!!! Craig is right on the money. It's all a ploy to create construction and union jobs where none exist. Do they think all Long Islanders are stupid?????
PatchogueLifetime May 31, 2012 at 03:47 PM
If you can't embrace it, I suggest you move somewhere else - this is the future of Long Island. Just ask the voters, who time and time again are electing officials who support Smart Growth and high density housing. It's the new suburb, and it's HERE TO STAY.

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