Albany, NY - July 16, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Wyandanch Rising broke ground on an active, mixed-use community, as part of the first phase of the major revitalization project in Suffolk County. This initial phase will include a five story mixed use development with 91 rental units, along with retail and residential areas. When completed, the full project will create 150 new jobs and result in Wyandanch Village – an environmentally responsible, 40-acre neighborhood.
“Today’s groundbreaking is great news for the Wyandanch community and New York State is proud to be a key partner in moving this transformational project forward,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Regional Councils continue to have a strong and positive impact on our communities – not only through helping businesses grow and expand, but through job-creating, community revitalization projects like Wyandanch Rising. When all is said and done, this project will provide 150 new jobs for New Yorkers and a much brighter future for one of the most economically distressed communities on Long Island.”
Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy today joined with private partners, state and local officials for an official groundbreaking ceremony in Wyandanch. The first phase will create a new downtown village that implements smart-growth strategies with a mix of apartment-style living and neighborhood shops conveniently located around a new community park and adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station plaza. The buildings are designed to achieve LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, and the entire community is registered with the USGBC for its LEED Neighborhood Development program.
“One of Governor Cuomo’s top priorities is strengthening our economy through a bottom-up system of economic development, and today we celebrate the success of this model with yet another win for Long Island,” said Lieutenant Governor Duffy. “As a Priority Project of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, this revitalization will create jobs and is integral to rebuilding the local economy. I thank all involved for their dedication to investing right here on Long Island, and by doing so, ensuring continued success across New York State.”
The primary community revitalization objectives of the Wyandanch Rising initiative include returning dormant and underutilized properties into productive use; creating jobs and housing; increasing tax revenue, and restoring the environmental quality of the downtown. Additionally, the multi-phase project will restore existing wetlands, control storm water runoff through various green techniques, and protect the stream banks and the shoreline of Geiger Lake.
“This is a significant moment for the residents of Wyandanch, the Town of Babylon, and in fact all of Long Island as we break ground on a major transit-oriented development,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “This day was a long time coming and wouldn’t have been possible without the support and vision of the Wyandanch community, Federal, State, local partners and the commitment of the Albanese organization. As I reflect back on the past thirteen years since the inception of Wyandanch Rising, many said it could not be done. Well, we stand here today as we take a significant step forward and break ground on the first phase of mixed use development in Wyandanch.”
“We are very excited to begin the first phase of development of Wyandanch Village,” said Albanese Organization Chairman Russell Albanese. “From a visioning process that began in 2004 where residents shared their ideas for a sustainable, walkable and transit-oriented community, we can proudly say now that their dream is today becoming a reality.”
The development of the first building involved a complex financial structure through a creative partnership of public and private sectors for a total of $38 million, led by the creative programs designed and administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
“Wyandanch Rising was a priority of Governor Cuomo’s Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and it is clear why. This project will continue to spur development in Wyandanch by creating a strong, sustainable, vibrant community,” said Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “The strategic mix of affordable housing, access to mass-transit, and retail along with community space will revitalize Wyandanch, making it a place where residents and businesses can thrive. Congratulations to Suffolk County, Albanese Organization, and all of our state and federal partners whose vision and years of dedication brought this project to life.”
The State’s support has been critical to moving this transformational project forward. Identified as a priority project by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council (LIREDC), Wyandanch Rising received the largest funding award in the region through the first two rounds of the Regional Council initiative, along with the support of five New York State agencies: Empire State Development (ESD), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of State (DOS), Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), and Homes & Community Renewal (HCR). The project, which has been in the works for a decade, involves a $75M private investment by Albanese Development leveraged by public funds from federal, state, county and town sources.
“This major milestone has been a long time coming, but it’s here and the LIREDC excited to see a Priority Project of this magnitude moving forward with so many public and private sector partners,” said LIREDC Co-chairs Kevin Law, President of Long Island Association and Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University. “Understanding the significance of revitalizing Long Island’s most distressed community, supporting this project has been a top priority of the Council and we have also identified Wyandanch as the focus of our Opportunity Agenda, which help ensure members of the community have the tools they need to overcome barriers to enter the workforce. We are proud to be playing a key role in realizing the vision of the Town of Babylon for this important community.”
"Today’s groundbreaking was made possible by perseverance and partnership, and Empire State Development is proud to support this great project,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the Regional Councils are having a strong, positive impact by investing in key revitalization projects, like Wyandanch Rising, that are creating jobs and improving the quality of life for Long Island’s communities.”
“The Department of State is proud to be part of the revitalization of Wyandanch by assisting with its brownfield opportunity areas,” said Cesar A. Perales, New York Secretary of State. ”New York State recognizes the importance of brownfield redevelopment as an economic and environmental justice issue and is committed to continuing our work with Wyandanch and areas across the State to restore land that will benefit local communities.”
“Wyandanch Rising also includes improvements and maintenance to Geiger Park, including Geiger Lake, and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation is proud to assist in this effort with an $810,000 Green Innovation Grant,” said EFC President and CEO Matthew Driscoll. “Babylon’s green grant was used to construct a stormwater wetland in Geiger Park that will protect stream banks and the shoreline of Geiger Lake, while also demonstrating the advantages of low-cost, sustainable projects to control stormwater.”
“Through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils, State and local governments are partnering on innovative projects that will create a better economic climate for our communities,” said New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald. “The road and parking improvements planned as part of Wyandanch Rising will play a key role in attracting businesses and customers, and NYSDOT is proud to help deliver these improvements for Long Islanders.”
Additionally, Wyandanch has been identified by the LIREDC as the area of focus for its Opportunity Agenda, a new component of the Regional Council initiative in 2013. This innovative new program empowers the Regional Councils to build on their success by targeting resources and expertise to help overcome the challenges that prevent poor communities from fully participating in our state’s economic revitalization. The Opportunity Agenda will create a pilot program to ensure individuals in the Opportunity Area have the tools they need to overcome barriers to enter the workforce.