Bayport-SitemapLong Island Business – The Hauppauge-based Northwind Group has acquired a 23-acre property on Sunrise Highway and won a zoning change that clears the way for a 148-unit senior living community.

Northwind purchased the property from Boston-based Dartmouth Cos. for an undisclosed sum brokers estimated at about $6 million. Northwind had sold the property to Dartmouth for the construction of a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in January 2006 for $8.77 million.

“I bought it for less than I sold it for,” said Jim Tsunis, managing partner of the Northwind Group.

Northwind had originally proposed a 55-and-over community for the property, located south of Sunrise Highway and west of Church Street in Bayport, in 2001, but could not get the site approved for a change of zoning from light industrial to residential. The company then sold the property to Dartmouth Co. and Lowe’s for the construction of a new big box store.

Dartmouth failed to win approval for its project, however, and Tsunis took a second shot at the seniors development, winning a zone change from the Islip Town Board last June.

Kevin Welsh, vice president at Ronkonkoma-based Zere Real Estate Services, who represented the property exclusively for the owners, said the zone change went much smoother this time around.

“The residents were in favor of this first-class residential development due to the developer looking to improve the infrastructure in the community and along Church Street with sidewalks and lighting,” he said.

The development will feature two- and three-bedroom townhomes for seniors, complete with garages, wide porches, steep roofs, pointed window arches and classical woodwork. A clubhouse fashioned after the historical Bayport Aerodrome will also be constructed and feature a kitchen, great room, stone fireplace, billiard room, meeting room, fitness center, library and business center, along with an indoor/outdoor pool, bocce court and putting green.

Tsunis said it will take about three years to complete construction of the community.

Lee Rosner, managing principal of Islandia-based Coldwell Banker Commercial Rosner & Associates, who represented Northwind on the deal, said the Islip Town Board made a good decision on the zone change.

“The site is challenged for industrial use,” Rosner said. “Truck access is very difficult. Sunrise Highway is a barrier that is difficult for industrial uses. Industrial operations need to have good access to the Long Island Expressway.”

Instead, Bayport Meadows has good access to walking trails going through the 300-acre Sans Souci County Park, which borders it to the south and is the main watershed for that area of Long Island.

“Having those walking trails through the preserve is wonderful for 55-and-overs who want to stay active,” Tsunis said.

Northwind has developed another 55-and-over community in Eastport, and is close to completing communities in Port Jefferson and Selden.

The demand for such senior housing on Long Island is expected to continue over the next several years as the baby boomers continue to hit retirement age. The number of Long Islanders 55 and over grew by 1.2 percent between 2010 and 2011, and now represents 27 percent of Nassau and Suffolk residents, up from 23 percent in 2000.

By: John Callegari