Four decades in making, East Northport project clears key hurdle

Rather than rentals, affordable housing complex has 146 limited equity co-ops

D&F Development Group’s Peter Florey and the development site at the northwest corner of Pulaski and Elwood Roads in East Northport (D&F Development Group, Google Maps)
D&F Development Group’s Peter Florey and the development site at the northwest corner of Pulaski and Elwood Roads in East Northport (D&F Development Group, Google Maps)

An unusual affordable housing project proposed decades ago in East Northport is finally on the horizon.

D&F Development Group landed $4.2 million in infrastructure funding from Suffolk County for the $92-million Matinecock Court development project, Newsday reported. The funding, previously authorized with another developer, had to be renewed because so much time had elapsed. It will help pay for a sewage treatment plant, sidewalks and roads.

D&F is also working on solidifying funding for the rest of the housing project, across 14.5 acres at the northwest corner of Pulaski and Elwood roads. Principal Peter Florey is aiming to break ground in October and close on financing in November or December.

The Matinecock Court project is not your typical subsidized rental complex. Rather, it will have 146 limited equity co-op units. Eight of those units will be reserved for people with developmental disabilities.

Limited equity co-ops are a form of ownership that allows residents to buy shares at a reduced price. However, to keep them affordable for future buyers, owners don’t build as much equity as they would at a traditional co-op. Therefore, they don’t walk away with a windfall when they sell down the road.

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Les Bluestone of Blue Sea Development and the project site (Photos via NESEA and Google Maps)
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The affordable housing project has been percolating for nearly a half-century. Local opposition caused delays as residents feared low-income tenants and increased traffic. A local NAACP branch ultimately sued the town over its refusal to grant zoning changes; the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the project to move forward in 1989.

A few years ago, Huntington-based Blue Sea Development and Matinecock Court Housing Development Fund Corp. appeared to be nearing construction of 17 two-story buildings, 70 of which would be rentals and 76 would be “owner-occupied.”

But raising funds for the project became a challenge during the pandemic as costs ballooned. At some point, Blue Sea left and D&F took over, requiring the reauthorization of various funds and approvals.

D&F has experience with Long Island affordable housing, including a 71-unit development in Farmingdale the developer hopes to complete by May 2024.

— Holden Walter-Warner