A Long Island developer is pitching a plan to build a new industrial park on the vacant New York Institute of Technology’s 90-acre property in Central Islip.
Bethpage-based Steel Equities is buying the former campus from NYIT and is proposing to develop 10 industrial buildings on the site just east of Carleton Avenue. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.
One of several boarded up buildings on NYIT’s Central Islip property. / Google Maps image
Executives from Steel Equities, who haven’t responded to a request for comment, have recently met with representatives of local civic groups and the Central Islip Fire Department to discuss its proposal and seek community input. The site has about 20 older brick buildings on it, many of which will need to be demolished to make way for the redevelopment. The property will also need to be rezoned by the Town of Islip to accommodate the industrial park.
A town spokeswoman declined to answer questions about the Steel Equities plan and instead emailed a statement from Ron Meyer, Islip’s commissioner of planning and development.
“We are enthusiastic about facilitating the economic revitalization of the 113-acre vacant NYIT campus,” Meyer said in the statement. “A thorough public outreach process will guide the development of a new land-use plan for this area. The town planning department is committed to involving all stakeholders to participate in establishing the vision of what the subsequent redevelopment will entail.”
Debbie Cavanaugh, president of the Central Islip Coalition of Good Neighbors, said she thinks Steel Equities will do “a fine job” in developing its plan, though some issues linger.
“I’m concerned about the truck traffic,” she told LIBN.
Trucks servicing the proposed industrial park would have to travel 3.3 miles along Carleton Avenue and Wheeler Road to get to the Long Island Expressway.
Cavanaugh added that she’d like to see one of the NYIT buildings, Robbins Hall, transformed into a fine arts venue and would also want the redevelopment plan to incorporate a walkable downtown area with restaurants.
Formerly occupied by the state’s Central Islip Psychiatric Center, NYIT bought more than 500 acres of the 750-acre site in 1984 for the bargain price of $7,000 an acre to establish a Suffolk County campus. As part of the sale’s covenant, a portion of the property could only be used for medical or educational use. Less than 10 years after they purchased it, the school began selling off large chunks of the site for commercial development.
Since then, NYIT donated about 100 acres to the county for its Cohalan Court Complex and sold about 300 acres to various developers, creating more than 1,000 units of housing, an industrial park, a nine-hole golf course, a baseball stadium for the Long Island Ducks, two hotels and a retail center.
Though NYIT continued to hold courses at its shrinking Central Islip property, the school hasn’t operated a full college campus there since 2005 and has been trying to sell most of the remainder of the site for the last several years.
An NYIT spokeswoman said after the sale to Steel Equities, the school will retain 13 acres on the west side of Carleton Avenue, and continue to operate its Family Health Care Center at 267 Carleton Ave., though she said she couldn’t provide any further details of the plan or the sale.
In 2016, NYIT sold about 29 acres just south of Sunburst Boulevard to Bay Shore-based developer Paul Aniboli, who received economic incentives from the Islip Industrial Development Agency last year to build a 268-unit apartment complex called Gull Haven Commons. The school currently has a 6-acre parcel of undeveloped industrially zoned land at the southern end of S. Technology Drive on the market.
Developer Ron Parr of Ronkonkoma-based Parr Organization, which developed the 560-unit Park Row townhome community and some 300,000 square feet of industrial space of the former NYIT land, funded the $1.5 million master plan for the NYIT property in 1989. Parr said he also supplied the sewer and water infrastructure for much of the NYIT site and gifted $2 million to the school for its plans to renovate Robbins Hall, though NYIT never went ahead with the project.
Parr said he offered NYIT $40 million for 150 acres of the Central Islip property about eight years ago, but the deal didn’t come to fruition. Based in Manhattan, NYIT also has campuses in Old Westbury, Jonesboro, Ark., Canada, United Arab Emirates and China, according to its website.
Civic leaders were set to meet Friday with town officials to further discuss the Steel Equities redevelopment proposal.