The nature of Long Island’s geography poses a problem for those commuting into the city because there is only so much transit-oriented housing to create. While there are so many reasons to want to live on Long Island instead of in the boroughs, it’s unrealistic to wait for someone to move to find affordable housing.
However, earlier this year, there are plans underway to transform mixed-use developments (blends of commercial real estate and housing) into more transit-centric and accessible housing within the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.
Formerly known as the Hauppauge Industrial Park, the name was changed earlier in 2020 to reinvent the industrial park as more of a technological hub where companies can come to roost—and workers can have convenient and affordable places to live, and better yet enjoy life on Long Island. Even before any new development, the size of Hauppauge Industrial Park was second in size only to Silicon Valley, so the idea carries a lot of merits.
The Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island (HIA-LI) recently held its group trade show in October 2020. They unveiled many new ideas concerning the project; however, they are still seeking approval for it.
Why Is There Such a Demand for New Housing in Long Island?
According to a Deloitte study, it’s estimated that millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce within the next five years. Yet a nextLIstudy found that over 60 percent of millennials are thinking about moving off the island. It’s more than just a housing issue; however, having affordable housing and lower taxes could keep the workforce on the island and improve the economy.
According to Robert Coughlan, co-founder of TRITEC Real Estate Company, an East Setauket-based developer, the gap between the number of units needed on Long Island and the number available is nearly double, so the housing shortage is profound. A few decades ago, this was much different, but instead of a millennial workforce, the shift was more toward working families.
Now that the housing need is more toward smaller units, different designs need to be built, and of course, different projects. There is also a sudden shift to move to Long Island to avoid COVID-19, which is straining housing on the island even further, according to Mitch Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute.
What Is the Forecast for the Long Island Innovation Park?
While the project itself is still pending approval, the push to move forward is gaining momentum.
Earlier in 2020, the Town of Smithtown reclassified the industrial park, which allowed the developers to design plans to have apartment housing next to many retail storefronts on ground-level space. This would allow for as many as 1,000 apartments within the industrial park itself. At this time, plans also include a workforce training center, greenway connection, business incubators, and quality of life amenities.
The forecast for completion can be tough to gauge; a similar project, the New Village at Patchogue, required eight years of work before completion, but that was in a pre-pandemic world.