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Groundbreaking

TRITEC officials and Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant shovel some dirt at the groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz

A new apartment complex is setting sail for downtown Port Jefferson.

Developers and Port Jefferson leaders gathered at the old Heritage Inn motel site on Tuesday to break ground on The Shipyard luxury apartments, a 112-unit building going up on West Broadway near the Barnum Avenue intersection.

The groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments in Port Jefferson is held on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz
The groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments in Port Jefferson is held on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz
TRITEC's Bob Coughlan talks about the development's impact on Port Jefferson Village at the groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz
TRITEC’s Bob Coughlan talks about the development’s impact on Port Jefferson Village at the groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz

They had started taking down the decrepit motel in mid-May, with Mayor Margot Garant getting into an excavator and smashing down the machine’s arm onto the roof of one structure at the site, a task she referred to afterward as “cathartic.” She and TRITEC Real Estate Company Principal Bob Coughlan had also used sledgehammers to smash some windows.

Previously called the Residences at Port Jefferson, the project calls for a three-story apartment building comprised of 42 one-bedroom apartments and 70 two-bedroom units, with resident parking underneath the structure. The building will take up less than half of the 3.74-acre property, which borders Old Mill Creek, to leave room for landscaping and buffers.

During the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Coughlan, who lives in Port Jefferson near the site, said the apartments will “clean up a blighted property” and help keep young people living and working on Long Island.

“There is a desperate need for housing of this type, particularly in walkable communities,” he said. “We are thrilled to be part of this.”

Heavy equipment is on display during the groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments in Port Jefferson on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Heavy equipment is on display during the groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments in Port Jefferson on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Garant also spoke at the ceremony, saying that having people living on the west end of the village year-round will support the businesses on that side of town, because they will eat in local restaurants and shop in local boutiques.

“This project is going to become a huge economic engine for us year-round,” the mayor said, adding that it could become home to both young professionals from Stony Brook University and elderly Port Jefferson residents who want to downsize without leaving the area.

Coughlan estimated The Shipyard would be finished in 18 months.

Port Jefferson officials shovel some dirt at the groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Port Jefferson officials shovel some dirt at the groundbreaking for the Shipyard apartments on June 14. Photo by Elana Glowatz

 

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The Setauket Fire District breaks ground on Saturday. Photo by Kevin Redding

By Kevin Redding

Sound the alarms. On Saturday, June 4, Setauket Fire District officials broke ground on the community-approved New Era construction project, which aims to renovate and expand the current firehouse to provide safer, more efficient and “greener” emergency services. For more than a decade, the $14.9 million project had been through its fair share of planning and proposals, and after a long community effort to get it approved, a bond vote in June 2014 finally sealed the deal.

With construction finally starting, District Manager David Sterne, along with members of the Setauket Fire District and elected representatives, commemorated the slow but worthwhile journey toward the refurbished firehouse.

According to Sterne, the primary issue with the firehouse that’s being replaced is that it was built in 1935 and doesn’t meet the needs for today’s fire services, both in size and safety.

For example, today’s modern fire trucks are bigger due to safety necessities, like closed cabs and seat belts and so the project will provide properly sized apparatus bays for new trucks, as opposed to custom ordering the trucks to fit the smaller firehouse. Along with equipment upgrades and storage space, the firehouse also plans to install a partial green roof, a high-efficiency heating system, and solar methods for energy capture.

Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright and Supervisor Ed Romaine deliver their remarks at the Setauket Fire Department groundbreaking. Photo by Kevin Redding
Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright and Supervisor Ed Romaine deliver their remarks at the Setauket Fire Department groundbreaking. Photo by Kevin Redding

“We have turned this into what we feel is a responsible and efficient project that will help us meet the needs for today and the next 50 to 75 years,” Sterne said. “Knowing the dedication of the men and women who volunteer their time to serve the community, to have the community come out and support this project was a reaffirmation of all the hard work that we do. We felt good in continuing to serve.”

With the sun beating down on a small gathering behind the firehouse, backhoes parked and surrounded by dirt hills, the ceremony was brief and to the point.

Among the speakers were Chairman Paul Paglia, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D- Port Jefferson Station).

Speaking first, Paglia said that this building not only symbolizes a renewed commitment to the community, but also underlines the community’s decision to invest in the future of the fire department. It’s a major endeavor, he said, but one that will give the town a sense of pride for what will come of it.

Romaine expressed his immense pride for the men and women who serve the department, and men and women who guide the district.

Englebright brought his attention to the design plans.

“Your planning has just been exemplary,” he said, facing the fire district officials. “The result is a design that is compatible with the historic neighborhood. We are in the core area of the town of Brookhaven historic district in Setauket and there was every chance on a project of this scale that we could lose our sense of place. But that is not being lost. It is being preserved. I think that the community will be very grateful when they see this rise out of the sand and still look familiar, while serving their needs to protect life and property as never before.”

At the end of the ceremony, the officials and representatives posed in hard hats and dug shovels into the dirt. Even though this will be an 18 to 24 month project, the completion of over a decade’s worth of work is in sight.

“A couple of years from now,” said Sterne, “we’ll be holding those giant scissors and having a big ribbon cutting [ceremony].”