Developer Paul Pawlowski outlines vision for 123 Sterling Ave.

05/24/2019 6:00 AM |

The new owners of 123 Sterling Ave. in Greenport are hoping to build less commercial space and more market-rate housing on the property than its previous owners.

Paul Pawlowski of Mattituck and Kenny Balloto of Westhampton purchased the vacant 1.72-acre parcel less than a month ago.

On Saturday, Mr. Pawlowski held a public meeting at the Third Street firehouse in Greenport to get feedback from the community before filing any formal new applications for the property.

The previous owners had obtained site plan approval more than 10 years ago.

“The point of this meeting is really to share information,” Mr. Pawlowski said. “There is currently an approved plan and building permit for this property that the sellers achieved over the last several years.”

123 Sterling LLC, a group headed by Richard Raskin, received site plan approval for the project in 2007 as a result of a stipulation of a lawsuit filed by neighbors in the Sterling Basin Neighborhood Association. The stipulation also involved the Greenport Village Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Despite that approval, 123 Sterling had been seeking to scale back the project or sell the property.

It received a building permit from the village on March 19 and sold the property to Mr. Pawlowski’s group, called 123 Sterling Avenue LLC, in April.

The previously approved plan calls for 12 market-rate condos and five affordable condos for sale, 15,000 square feet of commercial space, a detached building for marina use, parking along Sterling Avenue, 83 parking spots, and no landscaping on the perimeter, according to Mr. Pawlowski.

Mr. Pawlowski’s alternative proposal, unveiled informally Saturday, calls for 20 market-rate single-family condos for sale, five affordable one-bedroom rental units, 1,500 square feet of commercial space, no parking along Sterling Avenue, 40 parking spaces and landscaping and screening around the perimeter of the property.

There are also 14 boat slips on the property. How the commercial space would be used has yet to be determined, Mr. Pawlowski said.

Both projects are about 45,000 square feet, Mr. Pawlowski said, adding that he feels excessive commercial uses could have a negative impact on the community.

“The architecture will be more in keeping with what’s already in Greenport and in that neighborhood,” Mr. Pawlowski said. “It will be campus-style, rather than one massive building.”

The proposed site plan will have entrances on Sterling Avenue and Ludlam Place, and most of the condo units will have garages on the first floor, Mr. Pawlowski said.

“Potentially, we would be coming back to the village and proposing a plan B,” Mr. Pawlowski said. It’s easier to get information out to the public sooner than later, he said, noting that as one of the reasons for Saturday’s informational meeting.

Responding to questions from the audience, Mr. Pawlowski said the property is not located in a flood plain, and the first floor is not considered living space.

One audience member commented that the property was “completely covered” during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

When asked about his “wishful time element,” Mr. Pawlowski said, “We’d like to be in the ground next year.”

He added: “Our goal is to go back to the drawing board, do something reasonable and work with the [village]. But considering there’s an existing building permit there, we wouldn’t be able to afford to wait forever.”

Asked if a bar or restaurant might occupy the commercial space, Mr. Pawlowski said, “As owners of a project like this, we would want the least-impact commercial use for this property, and a bar and restaurant would not fit into that.”

He said he prefers affordable rentals to purchases because rentals can remain affordable into the future.

Mr. Pawlowski’s previous development projects include the Capital One Bank in Mattituck and a 21,000-square-foot medical building with apartments at the Riverside traffic circle, as well as a True Value Hardware store and a Stony Brook/Southampton Hospital health care center, both in Westhampton Beach.

Once the building permit is obtained, he believes the project could be completed in eight to 12 months. He said the permit process would take longer.

Mr. Pawlowski said he loves the neighborhood and plans to keep one of the residences for himself.

Photo caption: Paul Pawlowski led a meeting Saturday to discuss 123 Sterling. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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