What is the difference between Source the Station and Renaissance Downtowns?
Source the Station is a community consisting solely of Huntington Station residents and stakeholders who are committed to seeing a vibrant, safe and healthy downtown. Renaissance Downtowns is a private developer with over 35 years of collective experience developing commercial real estate. Together, Source the Station and Renaissance Downtowns utilize a nationally-renowned crowdsourced placemaking program based on community outreach and input to ensure that the future of the Huntington Station downtown is inspiring and representative of its community’s shared values, based on the triple bottom line of being economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
How long has Renaissance been in business?
Led by President and CEO Donald Monti, Renaissance Downtowns has over 35 years of development experience that covers the real estate development spectrum. This experience has enabled Renaissance to develop an innovative business model that meets market needs while tackling the complex challenges of comprehensive, holistic downtown redevelopment.
How many people does Renaissance employ?
The Renaissance entities employ over 100 people and are always growing. Renaissance’s main office is located in Plainview, NY with multiple satellite offices throughout the northeast.
Where else is Renaissance Downtowns working?
Renaissance Downtowns currently has several projects similar to the revitalization of Huntington Station. They are in Bristol, CT, Hempstead, NY, and Nashua, NH. For more detailed information on each project, please visit their sites by clicking the links above.
Was Renaissance hired by the Town of Huntington to be the Master Developer and being paid by them?
Renaissance Downtowns was not hired and is not receiving any compensation from the Town of Huntington to be the Master Developer. The Town of Huntington selected Renaissance as the Master Developer based on its merits after the Town sent out a competitive bid through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the redevelopment of downtown Huntington Station. Renaissance self-funds through private financing and receives no payment for its planning and crowdsourcing efforts by the TOH or its taxpayers.
What is the next step if the Development Strategy is approved?
If the development strategy is approved, Renaissance will work with the community, stakeholders and the Town of Huntington to implement the recommendations of the Development Strategy through specific site plans and zoning. For more detail, please see Chapter 4 here.
Will you use Eminent Domain?
Renaissance takes a partnership approach whereby we work with existing property owners rather than looking to buy them outright nor use Eminent Domain. It should be noted that as a private entity, Renaissance does not nor ever will have the power of Eminent Domain, however by working in this partnership approach, we feel that the potential for Eminent Domain is nearly eliminated because there will be clear economic benefits for current property owners to work in conjunction with Renaissance and the Town to implement a well conceived vision for downtown.
Where is the development area?
Please see our Development Strategy here for a detailed description and maps of the Huntington Station development area.
How long will this redevelopment take?
We expect that the redevelopment will be shovel ready in late 2013 to early 2014 and that the total build out will take 7-10 years.
What guarantees that the build out won’t stop? What guarantees that Renaissance won’t leave before development is completed?
As a private sector entity, Renaissance Downtowns has a vested interest in seeing its development through to completion once the plan is approved. Development will continue as long as there is return on investment for the company.
How is this different from other development/revitalization efforts that have been presented in the past?
Most past development and revitalization projects have relied on public funds and have lacked private sector input. Renaissance Downtowns is a private developer investing its own capital, with a shared community vision to create a mixed-use downtown destination that emphasizes local retail, restaurants, living options, hospitality, and office space.
Will the redevelopment of Huntington Station create jobs? Are these jobs going to go to Huntington Station residents?
The redevelopment of Downtown Huntington Station will provide thousands of construction and permanent jobs, including preference for local residents where possible. While it is still early in the process, Renaissance is working with the Town and local organizations (such as the Huntington Station BID, the Huntington Station Enrichment Center and the Huntington Chamber amongst others) to create programs that are designed to ensure significant local representation within the jobs created by the redevelopment.
How will this project benefit the youth?
There are numerous ways in which the redevelopment of downtown Huntington Station will benefit the younger generation. For those of working age, thousands of jobs will be created – retail, entrepreneurial, front office and back office, amongst others. This will provide career opportunities for many of Huntington Station’s young workforce. In addition, there will be multiple public amenities available for youth, including public squares, entertainment options and cultural offerings. Another benefit will be the creation of a safe, walkable neighborhood that fosters a true sense of community for those living downtown, and other Huntington Station residents.
What are you going to do about crime rates and public safety concerns?
Public safety and crime are obviously a major concern in Huntington Station. Despite perception, public safety has significantly improved statistically in the last few years, and Renaissance will continue to work with community organizations, businesses, police, fire, and government departments to ensure it reaches a level where residents feel safe and secure in the downtown. To reach that goal, Renaissance and Source the Station are continuously working with community members, stakeholders and interacting with the Suffolk County Police Department.
Will you be building with environmental sustainability in mind?
Yes, it is part of our commitment to the triple bottom line, which is about being economically, socially and environmentally beneficial. In fact, walkable mixed-use downtown development is in it of itself the most environmentally responsible type of development.
Will the infrastructure be fixed before you begin building?
Simply put, if the infrastructure that exists is not able to support the redevelopment, building will not occur. So yes, where it is necessary to improve / fix the infrastructure, it will be done before building commences. It should be noted that by planning and implementing a large scale redevelopment in downtown Huntington Station, the community gains a significant advantage in attracting State and Federal funding, offering residents a real opportunity to garner much needed infrastructure dollars that would not be available without such a redevelopment effort.
Are you going to improve sewers?
Renaissance recognizes that there is a significant need for infrastructure upgrades in the Huntington Station area, including the sewer system, that affect not just downtown, but many neighborhoods. We understand that the current system does face stresses that present an obstacle to economic development and expanding the tax base. That said, Renaissance has been in touch with a number of key individuals at the County, State and Federal level, all of whom have stated that they would work with Renaissance and the Town to help procure funding that would improve the sewer system. We are confident that the necessary improvements to the sewer will be made, providing for an improved quality of life not just downtown, but throughout all of Huntington Station.
How will this redevelopment affect transit?
The key to transit – be it rail or bus – is ridership. The key to ridership is having people live and/or work near transit lines. By providing for pedestrian-oriented development in close proximity to these transit lines ridership will increase, providing a rationale for increased/improved service. Renaissance has already conducted high level meetings with the MTA and the LIRR and this partnership will benefit the Town its residents and its businesses as a true Transit Oriented Redevelopment is created in Downtown.
Will public transportation be incorporated? How?
Public transportation is a big component of downtown areas. One of the key advantages that Huntington Station has is its train station. We want to encourage community members to keep taking advantage of this great resource, as well as work together to understand where public transportation is falling short and how it can be improved.
How will you be taking pedestrian and bike safety into consideration?
The vision is to create a walkable, pedestrian and bike-friendly downtown that caters to all modes of transportation. Parking will be available for those who drive, and for those who don’t, there will be safe and welcoming pedestrian areas and bike lanes.
How is Renaissance Downtowns working with local businesses?
Source the Station and Renaissance Downtowns are constantly working towards helping established businesses find ways to be more successful and to help new business ideas thrive. Some of the ways Renaissance assists local businesses are by offering business seminars, driving customers through introducing social media and hosting our events at local businesses. For driving entrepreneurs, Renaissance offers assistance through business plan creation, feasibility analysis and financing options.
Are you working with Huntington Village? How will they be affected by construction?
Renaissance recognizes the importance of the entrepreneurial base within Huntington Village. In working with the Chamber of Commerce and local business owners, the redevelopment efforts will focus on complementing and not competing with surrounding the Huntington Village commercial base. We are also discussing this concern in this online forum.
What about people south of 11th Street and closer to Jericho Turnpike? How will they benefit from a Downtown Huntington Station?
The largest concentration of underutilized property in Huntington Station are the municipally owned land north of 11th Street. Additionally, this municipal land was taken by urban renewal where the original downtown Huntington Station stood. Therefore, it has become the focus area of the Development Strategy. Renaissance is working with the Business Improvement District (BID) to determine what can be done to help revitalize the remainder of the area.
Who’s going to want to live next to the noise of a railroad station?
Today’s construction standards and technology require and allow for efficient noise reduction in the interior of living spaces.
Will my taxes be affected due to this redevelopment?
By creating a vibrant and environment in downtown Huntington Station, there will be significant additional tax revenues that will reduce the tax burden on residents and business alike. As the plan is fleshed out over the coming months, independent studies will determine the expected net tax benefits, and this information will be available for the community to review.
What will a project of this magnitude cost homeowners?
The redevelopment of downtown will be of no cost to homeowners. To the contrary, by creating a sustainable, pedestrian-oriented, triple-bottom-line development, there will be a reduction in the tax burden felt by current homeowners. In addition, triple-bottom-line development results in significant increases to property values, which will benefit homeowners throughout the Town. It should be noted that all up front costs of the redevelopment effort are to be borne by Renaissance downtowns, without any exposure to the tax payers.
How will the development affect local school districts?
The goal of mixed used development is to add to the commercial tax base of the school district and the town. If the Development Strategy is approved, the ultimate mix of uses will be studied and determined during the zoning and environmental review process (SEQRA). During this process, we will be required to sit down with the local school districts to determine potential impacts. Typically developments of this kind are tax positive and have minimal amounts of school age children.
If you build over the commuter parking lots, where will commuters park? Where will the parking be?
The LIRR commuter market is of great importance thus accommodations for utilized commuter parking will be made through various strategies including structured and shared parking options. For further detail see pages 63-64 of the development strategy here.
Is Renaissance Downtowns affiliated with Agenda 21 in any way?
No. Agenda 21 is a set of guidelines produced by the United Nations in 1992, and Renaissance has no affiliation with Agenda 21.
Renaissance Downtowns is a privately-financed company investing in downtown areas based on market demand, and simply believes that developing in downtowns provides a choice for consumers to help meet that market demand. Renaissance believes strongly in a locally-based, community driven process that takes into account what residents and stakeholders would like to see built within their downtown area, allowing the free market and local preferences to dictate what is developed within these downtowns. In addition, Renaissance’s efforts are funded by the Company itself, not the municipality, allowing the private sector to do what it does best – spur economic development and job creation for the communities in which Renaissance works.
Renaissance abides by a triple-bottom-line philosophy for development based upon social, environmental and economic responsibility that are based on growing market demand and local preferences, not Agenda 21.