Town of Brookhaven released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a master developer to redevelop the downtown area of Mastic Beach. The RFQ, according to the town, will task potential interested developers with creating a mixed-use plan to replace blighted structures in the Neighborhood Road Redevelopment area.
The goal, councilman Dan Panico said, is to create a vibrancy and sense of place for the community with potential for restaurants, housing and other uses. The plan comes after Suffolk County’s announcement in moving forward with the Forge River Sewer District, making way for development.
“We hope to get responses that enable us to write a new positive chapter in the area, attract businesses and give residents a downtown area for which they can be proud,” Panico said. “For far too long, people have talked about getting it done and now, we have taken the steps to entice the type of redevelopment that has been sought after to finally occur. We anxiously await all proposals, and in the meantime, will continue to crack down on housing issues, protect our environment and invest in our parks for the people of the area."
The area within in the proposal includes Neighborhood Road west from Commack Road, east to Doris Drive, as well as streets to the north, including Victoria Place and Linden Place. The plan does not include the municipally-owned-and-operated parcels where the Mastic Beach Ambulance Headquarters is located, or the former Mastic Beach Village Hall, where the Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Library Annex will open.
“It is the town’s goal, by working in conjunction with a master developer, to create a planned community that will benefit from its proximity to the South Shore and miles of unspoiled waterfront,” said planning commissioner Beth Reilly. “By creating this plan, we will rid Mastic Beach of blight, improve public safety, stimulate the local economy and much more.”
Among the uses, Panico said that he would like to see a mix of residential and businesses, like restaurants and even, perhaps, a small brewery.
“Something that will attract people to walk on Neighborhood Road and go out to dinner,” he added.
To help aid in the request, Mitch Pally, chief executive officer of the Long Island Builders Institute, has been in support of the redevelopment of the area and has submitted the request among his developers.
“We think this is a great opportunity for the community to [be] redeveloped in line with today’s mixed uses,” he said, making note of the sewer system allowing for the development.
However, one of the main concerns about the sewer project is the cost for businesses. As of now, federal monies are only available to homeowners, so businesses could face construction costs of up to $20,000 for the system. A $250,000 grant is also available from the county to businesses, as well as another $250,000 grant secured by former New York State Sen. Monica Martinez, which would be split up between those who apply, out of the 154 in total. Legis. James Mazzarella promises to petition the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development & Planning to seek additional grant funding.
“The plan could provide an economic spark to the downtown area and aid in an overall revitalization of Mastic Beach,” he said, eager to see it through.
Frank Fuggarino, resident and leader of the Pattersquash Civic, described the state of the area pre-sewers as “hitting a brick wall.”
“It’s about sewers. We have no developers. We need sewers and without them, we don’t have interest,” he said. “We have accomplished a lot, but we have gone as far as we can go development wise.”
He hopes the selected developer will include the potential for a medical care facility. Responses to the RFQ are due back to the town’s Purchasing Department by Sept. 13.