The Smithtown News - July 20, 2023
The Damianos Realty Group, of Smithtown, is stepping out of its comfort zone.
A leader in the local office building market, Damianos received site plan approval from the Smithtown Town Board July 11th to construct a two-story 45,296-square foot industrial building on the southwest corner of Middle Country Road (Route 25) and Broadly Avenue in Smithtown.
The building, according to the site plan, will include 6,000 square feet of office space, 6,000 feet of wholesale space and 33,296 square feet of warehouse space. The building will be located on a 4.86-acre site zoned light industrial (LI) and wholesale and service industry (WSI), located between McDonalds and Sports Arena at 620 Broadley Ave.
The building will be developed by Broadly Avenue Development Company, LLC, the general manager of which is X. Cristofer Damianos, the managing partner of the Damianos Realty Group, which owns and operates numerous office buildings on Route 25 in Smithtown. Mr. Damianos was at the town board meeting Tuesday for the approval of the site plan, but he did not speak. The site plan presentation was made by Town Planner Liam Trotta, it was approved by the town board without comment.
Mr. Trotta presented the board with the site plan, an aerial photograph of the site, and elevation drawings and architectural renderings of the proposed building. The building will have six garage bay doors for truck loading and unloading. The town code requires 131 parking spaces but a variance was approved by the Smithtown Board of Zoning appeals September 27, 2022 to require only 118 parking spaces. The project was approved with boilerplate conditions.
Mr. Damianos said the industrial building approved last week was designed without a specific tenant in mind. “The bottom line is that we designed it for a single user, but we don’t have the user, we don’t have a tenant at this point in time,” he said. “We haven’t even started marketing it yet, but we are gearing up for that now. We will get it out there with all of the big industrial real estate brokers and let them work their magic with their clients.”
Mr. Damianos said his firm is primarily office building orientated so he does not have the contacts in the industrial market as some other firms do. “The one thing I can say, is that it is going to be a class A industrial office building and it’s going to be a nice building,” he said.
Damianos has owned the property for decades, purchasing it in the 1990s from developer Frank Esposito. Prior to the acquisition, Damianos had owned the Sports Arena property on the south side of the site. After buying the land to the north from Mr. Esposito, Damianos built the McDonalds’s fast-food franchise in the front section of the site on Middle Country Road and the industrial lot remained vacant for several decades, Mr. Damianos said.
Included on the site was a connection street form Broadley Avenue to Southern Boulevard, which had not been improved. The Town of Smithtown eventually bought the land to pave it, which Damianos eventually did at no cost to the town so that the road was complete through from their property past the Sider Lumber site.
Eventually, the state took a piece of the land for a drainage recharge basin, and Damianos was left with the land for which the town board approved the site plan last week. The land is zone light industrial (LI). Mr. Damianos said the industrial market right now is tight so it is a good time to construct an industrial building. He said Damianos decided to build a top end industrial building and then market it to the industrial users who are out there looking for space.
“We are past the point in the good old days where you need a tenant to build. We’ll just build the building. We don’t need financing. We’ll just build it out of pocket and build a really nice industrial building-that’s the only way we know how to do things these days, build something really nice and really expensive-and a tenant will come along,” Mr. Damianos said.
The site plan approval last week, he said, was a key to the development project. “So, this is no longer a pipe dream. It’s happening,” he said.
He said there are more recent design plans for the building than those shared at the town board meeting last week. He said it will be a modern industrial building with decorative features and other elements that fit into the community. “That area doesn’t really call for something that is super, super modern,” he said.
Four years ago, July 16, 2019, the town board voted unanimously to acquire through the Eminent Domain Procedure Law a 60- foot by 157-foot strip of land totaling a 7,830-square-foot strip of land in the rear of 584 Middle Country Road, to construct a road from Broadley Avenue to Southern Boulevard to provide access to the 4.86-acre site if the building approved Tuesday.
The connection-road idea was hatched in 2008 when Sider Lumber & Supply Co. moved to a new building on Southern Boulevard. As a condition of site plan approval, Sider was required to build a road adjacent to its property, which is a portion of the road to Broadley Avenue. The land acquired through Eminent Domain by the town for $106,000 became the rest of the connection road. Damianos, which owns the Sports Arena site, built a 30-foot-wide road form the Sider Lumber portion of the road 507 feet east if Broadley Avenue to create the through street.
When the town entered into the agreement with Damianos, town officials said the connection road will make development of the 4.86-acre site safer by eliminating dangerous left hand turns onto Route 25 from the site at Broadley Avenue. Town officials also said the connection road will allow for development of industrial zoned sites that had been land-locked.
When the Eminent Domain acquisition was approved in 2019, Mr. Damianos commended the town for the cooperative agreement. “The town is finally getting around to doing what they said they were going to do 30 years ago, and that’s a goods thing. It will help to make traffic flow better in that area and it will spur economic development,“ he said.
By David Ambro