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This is the train to Station Yards.
Tritec’s newest – and one of its largest – developments, Station Yards, is right on schedule with residents moving into its apartments at the end of 2023 and pre-leasing for retail space available now.
Right across from Ronkonkoma’s Long Island Rail Road Station, the 53-plus acre space – more commonly known as the Ronkonkoma Hub – will bring 1,450 new homes to the center of the island, plus a different type of downtown.
With a groundbreaking in October, the second phase of the 12-year-long project includes six buildings that will house 388 new apartments, 70,000 square feet of retail space and a village green of about 10,000 square feet that will welcome guests from both the North and South Shores.
Plus, there’s going to be plenty of parking.
“It’s really going to be a true, mixed-use downtown in the heart of Long Island,” said Maria Valanzano, vice president for Colliers International, the real estate group that will be representing the retail spaces located on the structures’ bottom levels.
The development is directly adjacent to the north side of the LIRR, where pre-COVID ridership averaged 17,000 people in and out of the station every day headed to or from Penn Station, or other points to the east and west.
The Long Island Railroad also opened East Side access this January with trains to Grand Central Terminal and now provides access to the UBS a for games and events.
But Station Yards will be different compared to some of Tritec’s other locations. It’s nearly triple the size of Tritec’s developments in Patchogue and Lindenhurst.
It’s not only bringing apartments, but dining, entertainment, office space and accessibility for commuters, empty nesters and young people looking for their own place.
“We’re hoping to have residential tenants move in by the end of this year,” said James Coughlan, vice president of Tritec. “And then in those buildings, we’re hoping to open up the retail space by April 2024.”
Setting up shop
“This development really is revitalizing for Ronkonkoma,” Valanzano said. “I don’t think there’s anything like this that exists right now on Long Island.”
Valanzano said the teams are currently on track to deliver spaces for tenants to start building out as soon as this summer, and so far plenty of inquiries have been pouring in, she said.
Steven D’Orazio, vice president for Colliers International, said the group plans on throwing a grand opening bash when all the shops are opened.
“The goal here is that we want people who aren’t from Ronkonkoma to say, ‘Hey, want to go out want to go to Station Yards this weekend?’” Valanzano said.
“This is bringing a central neighborhood that didn’t previously exist.”
Plus, people won’t need to always drive – they can just hop on a train to Ronkonkoma.
”The aesthetic here is going to be the same level of quality that Tritec has produced throughout the rest of their developments,” D’Orazio said. “But we are creating a vibrant community center, a more engaging place for activity in the center of Long Island.”
Since the hub’s inception, developers have worked closely with the local chambers of commerce and civic groups in both Islip and Brookhaven towns. That being said, the retail goal of the now-under-construction retail spaces is for it to be “locally focused.”
“Loyal Long Islanders love their local shops,” Valanzano said. “And I think that’s what this is really going to be. We would like to bring best-in-class stores to Station Yards to make it authentically Long Island”
Something for everyone
Along with housing, restaurants, shopping and office space, Kelley Heck, executive vice president of Tritec, noted the handful of outdoor spaces throughout the property that will become favorites to Station Yards’ residents and the visitors stopping by.
A planned Paseo will connect the train station to the downtown area, where retail will be on either side of the passageway. There, Heck said, restaurants could set up outdoor dining, mini markets, or easy access to commuters looking to grab a quick bite.
The steps of the Village Green will be slightly depressed by a few feet into the ground so people can hang out during the warmer months.
“The seating along the stairs makes it its own,” Heck said. “It’s almost like a room within the Village Green.”
Alongside that area will be a children’s interactive area for families. “The idea is to make people go outside,” Valanzano said. “Go out with your friends, your kids, a date night, walk around… It’s going to be beautiful.”
A model for the U.S.
The Colliers group said that Tritec’s development in Ronkonkoma has made its mark nationally for their own brand.
Anjee Solanki, national director of retail and practice groups at Colliers, has visited the site often and uses it as an example for other projects across the U.S.
“As we continue to see hybrid work environments and a balance between various asset types, institutional clients, developers, municipalities are seeking purposeful mixed-use projects that will enhance the growth and experience of communities,” she said. “The goal is not to drop-in, but to develop a thoughtful destination that is well-positioned through research, data analytics, placemaking and ensuring that each asset type from residential, creative office, hospitality and retail function together. The result – a community that has a sense of place.”
And Station Yards is expected to be so welcoming that even the East Setauket-based Tritec group doesn’t want to miss out.
Coughlan said the company plans on moving its headquarters to Ronkonkoma.
“I think that says a lot about how we feel about it here,” he said. “We’re moving with the intention of attracting the best and brightest young employees Long Island has to offer.”