The additional affordable housing apartments planned for North Bellport via the new 100-unit Allegria South two-floor development with its commercial component has gotten the attention of Vision Long Island.
For their efforts, D & F Development Group LLC principal and developer Peter Florey and the Town of Brookhaven will be feted on June 10 with a Vision Long Island Inc. Smart Growth Award at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
“We’re honoring the town for their approval of the overlay district, which came out of years of development planning and honoring a developer for his commercial component for the second project, which the community has wanted as well,” said Vision Long Island executive director Eric Alexander. “You can have all the plans in the world, but if you don’t have an investor and at the same time if the town doesn’t approve the planning, it doesn’t happen. We are pleased that it had community supporters at the hearing. So we’re excited.”
“Since I got elected, supervisor Romaine and I tried to build up the entire area and revitalize it,” said councilman Mike Loguercio. “So, addressing the car repair shops to clean up their yards along Montauk Highway, and pushing for Holla Dollar, Dunkin’, the new façade for the Sunoco Gas Station were all initiatives. I met with numerous developers and discussed how we wanted to do it. Peter Florey saw our concept and he worked with us and built this beautiful development. The goal was to keep folks in the area, provide jobs and revenue so people don’t have to move out. I wasn’t letting up on this; we had a vision and wanted to make sure we saw it to fruition.”
“The key was town approval of the overlay district in January, which allowed Allegria South to move forward,” Florey explained. “It’s 100 percent workforce housing,” Florey said. “A super will be on the site, like Gleneagle Green at Bellport. There will be some senior units included and supportive services for them. We will also include a new grocery store, food market with fresh produce and meats and fish, which doesn’t exist in the area. And we are also talking with a regional bank about them coming in as well.”
Florey initially presented the plans last November at a Bellport Hagerman East Patchogue Alliance meeting to the community. It represents a $50 million investment, he told the Advance.
Allegria South units will be located on Atlantic Avenue off Hoffman Avenue and Montauk Highway with 200 parking spaces to the rear of the units and significant landscaping. Commercial space, 10,000 square feet, is slated for property a block away, between the new Dunkin’ and Miracle Plaza.
The project is within walking distance to the Boys & Girls Club of the Bellport Area and its new neighbor, the Gleneagle Green at Bellport affordable housing complex on Atlantic Avenue.
Most of the residents have been vetted and selected for the Gleneagle Green apartments already, Florey said, chosen by a lottery process.
The income range for Gleneagle is between $35,000 to $75,000.
“Our goal is to have our certificate of occupancy at the end of this month and start moving people in,” Florey added.
Over 500 applications were submitted for the 70-unit Gleneagle Green complex on Atlantic Avenue, Florey explained, with most coming from the Bellport area or within a 5-to-10 mile radius.
“I think there is a need for affordable housing just in general, not only in Bellport,” said Fred Combs, executive director of the Bellport Hagerman East Patchogue Alliance, where application help was offered. “Rents are outrageous right now and most people can’t afford them. I think the rents are reasonable at Gleneagle Green and I can’t wait for Phase 2.”
Combs said applicant interviews of those chosen in the lottery were being conducted at BHEP starting May 9 and will end soon. “Everyone who has been chosen received a letter and a time for their appointment,” he said.
It’s been a long journey to North Bellport’s revitalization goals, which will remain ongoing.
“The Greater Bellport Community Coalition was formed in 2006, and we had about 300 community members attend meetings voicing support of an attractive downtown hamlet, but these efforts went as far back as 1992,” explained Greater Bellport Coalition co-chair John Rogers, who has been helping to steer plans. In 2014, 400 locals were in support of the Greater Bellport Land Use Plan, which supported vibrant stores and affordable apartments. In 2018, 200 locals were in support of Gleneagle, he said.
“I’ll be there,” said GBC Coalition co-chair Joann Neal of the award ceremony, appointed six months ago, who has been on GBC’s committee for years. Neal visited one of Florey’s developments in Melville (Highland Green, 117 limited equity co-ops) and said he had arranged three buses for community groups. “We talked to the people there and it was beautiful,” she said. “I told him, ‘If you’re going to put a project like that in our community, we want it.’”
It’s been an arduous process with stops and starts, but Rogers noted that the neighborhood has been changing for the better, especially lately.
“The number of boarded up houses for years is down to about nothing and have been rehabbed,” he added. “And new construction is being built on empty lots. And those houses are not on the cheap side.”
Neal, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1972, added, “Those homes are selling for $400,000. A lot of Latino families are moving in.”
Rogers gave a thumbs-up to supervisor Ed Romaine, deputy supervisor Dan Panico, and councilman Mike Loguercio.
“They’ve been very supportive, particularly with the overlay district,” Rogers said.
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