The following aired on WSHU Public Radio on January 2nd, 2017. You can read and listen to the original story, as reported by Jessica Opatich, here.
The mostly abandoned Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Brentwood, Long Island, was once the site of the world’s largest hospital. On Wednesday it might be one step closer to becoming an entirely new community.
The project is called Heartland Town Square and it includes more than 9,000 housing units – a majority of them rentals – and millions of square feet of retail and office space on more than 450 acres. On Wednesday, the Suffolk County Planning Commission will have a public meeting and vote on the future of the project.
Richard Murdocco, founder of The Foggiest Idea, a website devoted to land use, planning and development has some concerns about the massive project.
“One concern is that the project itself, when it reaches its maximum build-out, will overwhelm local infrastructure, meaning the roads as well as the wastewater system,” Murdocco says.
And while he admits that Long Island is in need of a diversity of housing, he’s skeptical of the affordability of the rentals.
The Heartland Town Square project is one of several redevelopment projects, including the $538 million Ronkonkoma Hub, that are part of a larger regional development plan.
The Wednesday meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Smithtown.