As part of the redevelopment of Lindenhurst, village officials in 2014 saw a lot of potential for a property two blocks from Main Street and across the street from the Long Island Rail Road station. Tritec Real Estate Company also saw a lot of pluses for the property that fit its model of transit-oriented development.
“Working with the Village government and community leaders, we felt it could be a transformative project for the entire downtown,” said Tritec Vice President of Marketing Chris Kelly.
Tritec began construction of the $103 million project in March of 2019 and welcomed the first residents on June 30, 2021 to The Wel, a development that is now a key part of the Lindenhurst revitalization.
A 260-unit, high-end residential apartment building, The Wel is a perfect example of how transit-oriented development can energize a downtown with apartments that can attract eager tenants.
“Our organization has focused on transit-oriented revitalization projects for nearly 20 years,” said Bob Coughlan, a Tritec principal. “And we thought it would be a great project in a great community.”
The project doesn’t include retail, because it’s so close to Lindenhurst’s existing downtown retail. “We wanted to complement Village retail by adding disposable income, rather than compete with it,” Bob Coughlan added.
According to Forbes, 80% of disposable income is spent within 10 miles of the home, which Kelly said is “great for downtown retailers.” Tritec selected products from some local retailers as new resident move-in gifts, including local retailer discounts and special offers.
The project is part of a trend toward transit-oriented development (TOD. In another example of TOD, Alston Station Square is located on the main line of the Long Island Rail Road in Ronkonkoma.
“The building’s proximity to Main Street and the train are both desirable,” said Tritec Vice President of Development Kelley Heck. “And the Village government and community’s support of revitalization were critical factors in our decision to invest in Lindenhurst.”
Construction was completed, despite the pandemic, with a wide range of protocols put in place. “The pandemic was a challenge. We had to close the site for eight weeks due to the Governor’s Executive Order,” said Executive Vice President of Construction Ken Abrami. “During that time, we established new Covid protocols.”
Tritec staggered morning start times, so contractors did not arrive at once, took temperatures, and collected daily attestations. Hand-sanitizing stations were located throughout the building. “We had contact tracing devices attached to hardhats to measure how long and far apart people were,” Abrami said.
The Wel has acted as a magnet for downtown development. “Since we announced the development of The Wel, there have been 18 new businesses on Wellwood and Hoffman Avenues,” said Bob Coughlan. “Eight of those stores opened during the pandemic.”
According to Tritec, almost 60 percent of the units in The Wel have been released. The property has a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in price from $2,100 to $4,700, depending on the apartment.
“A diversified housing stock meets the demands of the modern market,” Heck said. “Young professionals and empty nesters want the same walkable, accessible downtowns where they don’t have to drive to every destination.”
Heck said the rental apartments are “targeted at people of all age groups who want something different than a single-family home, which could be for a multitude of reasons.”
There is almost an 80/20 split on Long Island between single-family homes and multi-family apartments, according to Tritec. “Demand has been strong given the dearth of multifamily housing in the region and the more recent changes to the housing market during Covid,” Kelley Heck added.
The development, named for a historic figure in Lindenhurst, in a way corrects a historical mistake while paving the way to the future. “We named it The Wel because one of the original founders of Lindenhurst was named Thomas Welwood. Wellwood Avenue is spelled with two L’s by mistake,” said Phil Chiovitti, community manager for the Wel. “We thought it would be a nice nod to one of the founders to name the property The Wel.”
Tritec hopes The Wel will both respect the region’s history and help energize its future.
“We embraced the history of Lindenhurst and the history of the former factory building with design elements like the original building’s furnace doors, arches, and brick,” said Kelly. “We have worked hard to create relationships with the Lindenhurst Chamber of Commerce, the Business Improvement District, and local retailers. The spirit of Lindenhurst is what we hope to have infused into the building.”