The Gitto Group, which has and is developing several projects in Port Jefferson, was awarded the Vision Long Island Smart Growth award on Wednesday.

The honor goes to organizations that are behind “livable, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible growth” on Long Island downtowns, according to the nonprofit.

This group was highlighted for its latest mixed-use developmental project on 440 Main Street. 

The three-story, mixed-use residential and commercial project is in the works for the landmark property that previously housed Cappy’s Carpets, which was one of the oldest businesses in the Village of Port Jefferson.

The 65,300-square-foot building project, known as The Brockport, will have 44 units, 2,700 square feet of commercial space, and amenities for residents, such as a roof-top deck, fitness center, outdoor courtyard with fire pits and barbecues, and a community room.

There will also an approximately 1,500 square feet of space to be used for a takeout-style restaurant.

Story continues after photo.

Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island, kicking off the award annoucement.

“It’s a companion piece to what is a fantastic destination — Main Street,” said Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island. “There’s great opportunities here as a destination, but also for living.”

Vision Long Island’s Smart Growth focuses on more livable, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible growth and re-development on Long Island. They support mixed-use projects and mixed-income communities.

Alexander said Port Jefferson is their eighth stop on Smart Growth Awards tour, previously stopping in communities like Hempstead, Westbury, Linbrook, downtown Huntington, and more.

Alexander said the Gitto family and their company invested in a mix-use project on Main Street before it was popular or allowable, but “they got it done.”

“Port Jeff is no stranger to great projects,” Alexander said. “We are really excited to be here in Port Jeff.”

Rob Gitto, vice president of the Port Jefferson-based Gitto Group, said three or four years ago, he walked over from his office and asked Peter Capobianco, owner of the landmark property, if he would ever be interested in redeveloping his site.

“I asked him the question and he said ‘Sure, let’s see if it makes sense,’ and here we are today,” Gitto said.

Although it’s bittersweet to see Cappy’s Carpets leave the village, Gitto said, this new development opens up a new chapter for Capobianco.

“We are excited to be a part of it with him and thank him for allowing us to partner with him on this project,” Gitto said.

Story continues after photo.

Rob Gitto, Vice President of the Gitto Group.

440 Main Street is one of many new projects proposed for Port Jefferson Village — including a project planned for a blighted former boatyard on West Broadway and the Uptown Funk revitalization.

The Gitto Group also worked on The Hills — a multifamily development in uptown Port Jefferson.

“We’re going to extend the Main Street of Port Jefferson further south, it’s going to be a special project, we are excited about it,” Gitto said. “The fine details will be better than anything seen in the area and anything we’ve done recently.

“The hope is to have the project completed a year from now, Gitto said.

Jim Tullo, Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency deputy director, supported this second project that they have worked on with the Gitto Group and spoke on the new development’s importance to the community.

“We are very proud to not only provide housing and mix-use for the village of Port Jefferson but also to be able to continue to create jobs and do the things that are necessary from an industrial development agency standpoint,” Tullo said. “To continue to move forward and revitalize certain areas, villages, and downtowns that really need to undergo certain types of revitalization.”

Story continues after photo.

Jim Tullo, Deputy Director of the Brookhaven IDA.

Alexander said political leadership from those such as Mayor Margot Garant of Port Jefferson is necessary for creating projects like this one.

He said Garant was bold enough to go through with this development, connect with members of the community, and “put a master plan together” to complete the vision.

Garant said the desired vision is to create safe, affordable housing for the younger generation in a vibrant, downtown Port Jefferson community.

“Port Jefferson has it all,” Garant said. “They need a choice for affordable apartments to enter into our community, they fall in love with our community, and then they buy in our community, and that helps bolster the values of properties everywhere.”

Story continues after photo.

Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant.

The mayor said the project could not be done without the support of the IDA because the village gets “a lot of flack” for giving people a bypath on relief and taxation when projects like this are introduced to the community.

“To build something like this, millions upon millions upon millions of dollars,” Garant said. “Timelines spent on soft and hard costs that make the numbers sometimes unreachable, so they need all the assistance they can, in addition to having local boards understand the importance of getting these projects done.”

“[To understand] the importance of being an economic engine for the state university (SUNY Stony Brook) that is one door stop away from us, providing beautiful new housing, mixed-use opportunity, and we want to make sure to always have a retail component to keep our Main Street vibrant and alive.”

The full winners of the 2020 Smart Group Awards will be held virtually on Sept. 3 at noon

Below is previous reporting on the mixed-use Main Street project in Port Jefferson.