Hockey arena part of redevelopment plans

To be located at former Dowling College site in Shirley

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A new hockey arena/indoor sports recreational facility is part of a developer’s plans to redevelop the approximately 105-acre former Dowling College campus off William Floyd Parkway in Shirley.

As part of the project, which represents an investment of about $125 million, Morristown, N.J.-based The Hampshire Companies is also proposing to refurbish the athletic fields at the site and turn them, the hockey arena, and about 25 acres of land over to the Town of Brookhaven for use as a park.

If approved, Hampshire would convert the remaining 75 acres into an industrial park, with three buildings totaling about 596,000 square feet. The largest building would be 206,800 square feet, according to the current site plan. The others would be 206,250 square feet and 183,750 square feet.

Hampshire will develop the industrial buildings and another company will develop the hockey arena and refurbish the athletic fields, said Christopher Badger, senior development manager for Hampshire. The hockey arena would have two rinks, and could also possibly be used for other indoor sports, Badger said.

Each of the industrial buildings would be suitable for multiple tenants for warehouse distribution or light industrial and could accommodate tenants needing as little as 30,000 square feet, Badger said.

The former Dowling College campus is a good location for a project of this kind because of its proximity to the Long Island Expressway and because of the area’s skilled workforce, he said.

Hampshire is seeking a zoning change from residential to light industrial and is scheduled to go before the Brookhaven Town Board on Feb. 22. Once that is approved, the project also needs approval for its site plan, said John Armentano, Hampshire’s attorney.

Once approved, it would take about two years for all of the buildings, including the hockey rink and industrial buildings, to be completed, Badger said.

Hampshire presented its proposal at a recent meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mastics and Shirley.

“To us, as a chamber, it’s great, as it would bring jobs to the area and revitalize the area,” chamber president Frank Montanez said.

Brookhaven Town Council member Karen Dunne Kesnig, whose district includes Shirley, said the proposed hockey arena is “something the residents of the town of Brookhaven would love, especially for the kids.”

Dunne Kesnig said that given what she knows about the project currently, she supports it.

In addition to the buildings, Hampshire would build an on-site wastewater treatment facility that would serve the entire complex, Armentano said.

This would be The Hampshire Companies’ third project on Long Island, and its first multi-building, large-scale project on Long Island, Badger said.