A 24,637-square-foot retail center called Stony Brook Square is under construction at 1111 Route 25a— less than a mile from Stony Brook University and across from the Stony Brook train station.
It will be completed by the fall according to Little Rock Construction, the developer on the project.
Last year, the developer was forced to halt construction to make changes to the site plan after work had already begun. Work resumed at the end of the year after the company applied for a modification of the plan.
In a split decision in December 2018, the Town of Brookhaven Planning Board allowed work to continue approving a number of changes to the plan including, the widening of the curb cut onto Route 25A and driveway access to 30 feet, some modifications to the approved grading, drainage, stormwater leaching pools, the slope of the parking lot, and removal of excess materials.
The board denied a proposal to revise one building location and to construct 19 additional parking spaces.
Company president, Parviz Farahzad, said that Little Rock is ready to complete construction and if all goes well the center should be done by late summer or early fall of this year.
“Revision to the site plan and all been approved and in compliance with requirements,” he said in a phone interview with GreaterPortJeff.
Farahzad said that the center was already about halfway leased-up with clients such as Teachers Federal Credit Union and Jersey Mike’s Subs committed to move in once construction is complete. An unnamed coffee shop and bubble tea company are also committed, according to Farahzad.
The company is still seeking retailers for the remainder of the units.
“We will see what the market is going to bring,” Farahzad said.
Setauket-based Little Rock Construction has been in business since 1981. The company has developed some big projects on Long Island since then including Grumman Studios in Bethpage where big-budget productions like Marvel’s Avengers and the live telecast of the Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood have been filmed.
There are five separate buildings on the three-acre lot, that once hosted a nursery. One of the buildings is a historic home that was originally constructed in the late 19th century that the developer preserved.
Farahzad said that plans for the house aren’t finalized but said it will remain in place.
“It could be an office or a restaurant,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be rented.”
Jonathan Kornreich, president of the Three Village Civic Association, said that he’s hopeful that the development will contribute to the shared vision of what the 25a corridor will ultimately become.
“The civic is in favor of smart development,” he said. “We are lacking a downtown area in what is essentially a university town.”
Stony Brook Square is close to the University and across from the Stony Brook train station positioning retailers to appeal to commuters and students alike. The site capitalizes on current strategy among builders on Long Island to provide walkable spaces incorporating service-retail (defined as restaurants, cafes and shops who giving experiences that cannot be replicated online) close to public transportation and housing with attainable rents.
This is something that Kornreich would like to see more of.
“We would like to see the kind of amenities that people enjoy like restaurants and bookstores,” he said.
That might be a good plan. A recent report in a national commercial real estate publication on student housing and retail properties said that the retail apocalypse due to competition from online outlets hasn’t hit university-adjacent stores as hard as other locations.
“A well-positioned retailer can capitalize on that need with a location close to a university campus.” Shannon Benson, director of retail for Greystar, which specializes in rental housing, was quoted as saying in the article.
In the end, Kornreich wants developers to be true to the plans they bring to the table and contribute in a positive way to the growth of the village especially in that location.
“There is a very strong sense of place in Three Village,” he said. “You can go from one town to the next you don’t know what town you’re in. But in Three Village you can tell.”
One key part of development in the corridor is a plan to eventually install sewer lines to support existing wastewater and future growth. It’s something that Kornreich says all stakeholders would like to see happen but there is a long way to go until it can become a reality.
Farahzad said that it would make sense but plans aren’t in place yet.
“Of course if there was a sewer line we’d love to connect to it,” he said. “Not only us but existing houses and the centers.”
Kornreich thinks the Stony Brook Square center will ultimately contribute to the ultimate plan for the area.
“For the most part the developer was responsive to the community concerns,” he said.
Below is a rendering of the shopping center.
Top: View of construction of Stony Brook Square on Route 25A. (Credit: Juliet Melillo)