Demand for Residential Condos Remains Strong



THE residential condominium market continues to grow on Long Island and builders predict much more to come as buyers purchase units from architects’ plans or computer programs.

Since the beginning of the year, the number of new condos being built “has significantly risen even from the boom of the past several years,” said Glen R. Cherveny, an architect and principal in Axelrod & Cherveny in Commack, which has specialized in designing condos since its founding 28 years ago. “We’re not seeing any scare from the economy — it’s pretty amazing.”

Since the mid-1990’s, condos, which range from apartments to town houses and villas, have become increasingly popular with those looking to own maintenance-free, attached housing in gated communities, often with shared recreational facilities. Monthly common charges for the units include security, outdoor maintenance and taxes for common property like clubhouses and outdoor swimming pools.

In the town of Smithtown — which has 1,400 units and 300 more in the permit stages — the increase in condos is related to a decline in the need “for marginal commercial space,” said Frank DeRubeis, planning commissioner.

“Because of the buildup of malls along the highways, and less need for retail space because more people are ordering merchandise on the Internet, there is not the need for as much prime commercial space in certain areas of the town,” he said.

“Since the town started approving condominiums for the first time in 1985, the numbers have built up, with all construction done on property rezoned from commercial or industrial,” he said. “We are just beginning to go full speed ahead.”

There is always a demand for alternative forms of housing in Smithtown, where only half of the 37,000 households have school-age children, he said.

In December, the Beechwood Organization of Jericho, which has built many condos on Long Island designed by Axelrod & Cherveny, opened sales for new town house units in Smithtown and Miller Place, each including a clubhouse and swimming pool.

“We are selling condominiums to all segments of the market,” said Michael Dubb, a principal.

Half of Country Pointe at Miller Place “has been sold from plans, that’s how strong the demand was,” he said.

Construction began in February and models are expected to be completed by June 1. The 110-unit project will consist of 24 two-story buildings on 30 acres. The three-bedroom units, which will range from 2,000 to 2,400 square feet, are priced from $324,900 to $399,000. Common charges will be about $225 a month, including taxes for common property.

Fifty contracts have been signed since sales began in December for the Smithtown project, on Brown’s Road, which has 88 units. That project will include 20 buildings, each with three to six three-bedroom units on 23 acres. The units range from 2,000 to 2,200 square feet and sell for $375,000 to $450,000. Common charges will be $300.

According to town codes, large trees will remain on the property and there will be a heavy replanting of foliage in both the Smithtown and Miller Place projects, Mr. Dubb said.

Beechwood will also break ground on a 137-unit condominium in Kings Park in the fall, which will include 1,400-to-2,000-square-foot, two-story units with two or three bedrooms selling “in the mid-200,000’s to upper 300,000’s,” he said. There will be 37 two-story buildings on 25 acres.

Another 240-unit project has been proposed for the central Suffolk County area, Mr. Dubb said.