Proposed Popeyes restaurant moving forward at old Astoria Bank building in Coram


After what Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner called a three year long process, the old Astoria Bank building on the northwest corner of Middle Country Road and Mount Sinai Coram Road in Coram will be redeveloped into a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant with a drive-thru.

The applicant sought a change of zoning on the property at 180 Middle Country Road from J Business 4 to J Business 6 with special permits for a major restaurant with accessory drive-thru. That application was granted at the Brookhaven Town Board meeting on Aug. 11 after a public hearing.

A long time coming, the project had support from the Coram Civic Association and local officials as the developers worked with the corporation to make changes to the design of the building that were in line with the historical Davis House across the street.

According to the Davis Town Meeting House Society website, the home is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated Brookhaven Town Landmark.

Keith Archer, Harris Bloom and Archer, who represented the applicant at the board meeting said that much consideration was put into the redevelopment of the site, first of which was whether the bank building could be adapted for a new use.

“A lot of time was spent in determining the appropriate use and if the existing building could be reused,” he said.

Ultimately it was decided that the building would need to be razed and rebuilt but Archer said that input from the community and town officials contributed to a new look and feel for the Popeye’s restaurant.

“This is not the conventional Popeye’s restaurant,” he said.

There are architectural changes and the typical corporate colors have been muted. Bonner said that officials wanted to make sure the design and colors paid respect to the historical Davis House on the opposite side of the street.

The 1.36-acre property is next to the Burger King on Middle Country Road to the west and north of the Stop & Shop/Home Depot shopping center. Plans call for 26 parking spots to be provided, which includes two handicap spaces. It also shows space for seven cars to queue up in the drive-thru area, measuring 9-feet wide by 22-feet long.

Construction is estimated to take four months in total and cost around $1.6 million. A land use intensification mitigation fee of $30,960 will be paid by the applicant to the Joseph Macchia Environmental Preservation Fund. Money in the fund is used for land preservation by Brookhaven Town.

Also revealed by Councilwoman Bonner was that the New York State DOT is proposing improvements to the intersection to increase capacity of the road and efficiency of vehicle movements. No specific details on the project are available yet.

Archer said that the Popeye’s restaurant will be consistent with development in the area but more importantly it is a “very different type of store.”

Bonner agreed and said that the project will bring jobs to the area while making use of the vacant bank property.

“And it’s a win for the community,” she said.

Top: Exterior of the old Astoria Bank building in Coram. (Credit: Lon Cohen)