Wincoram Commons – A Game Change for Coram

Deon J. Hampton, Staff Writer

A nonprofit that creates housing for Long Island residents says a $56 million multiuse development under construction in Coram should pump nearly that much money into the local economy.

About 145 full-time and part-time workers are building Wincoram Commons on Route 112, the site of the former and long-dilapidated United Artist movie theater.

Marianne Garvin, president of the nonprofit Community Development Corporation of Long Island, based in Centereach, said she expects the housing development to be completed by December, but not before up to $55 million has been injected into the hamlet.

“There will be permanent jobs to manage the development and a few jobs for retail developments,” she said in an interview.

Rochester-based Conifer Realty and the nonprofit broke ground on the pedestrian-friendly housing and commercial complex last year.

Wincoram Commons will offer about 175 affordable rental housing units, mixed retail and 13,300 square feet of commercial space. Roughly 100 residential units are expected to be available in July.

“It’s a game change for Coram,” said Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Connie Kepert, who expects the project to help spur additional developments.

The project was launched after a $1 million award from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The governor praised the project last year.

“This redevelopment project will transform a symbol of blight into a new engine for economic development and affordable housing,” Cuomo said in a statement at the time.

Cuomo also projected the development would pump about $56 million into the local economy.

The movie site has been vacant for more than a decade and a trouble spot. Suffolk County police have responded to more than 150 calls at the site since 1996, mostly for disturbances and trespassing, police said.

A fire caused the roof of the building to collapse in 2007, and town officials issued several building code violations to a previous owner, including having an unsecured vacant building.

Wincoram Commons will provide one-, two- and three- bedroom affordable rental apartments at prices from $929 to $1,788 a month, Garvin said. The development will feature commercial space on the first floor of some of the residential buildings, along with a commercial building on Route 112, which will serve as a gateway to the community.

A leasing office, fitness center and community space will be housed in a separate clubhouse.

Coram Civic Association President Erma Gluck, who worked for years to have to site redeveloped, said she’s been jumping for joy since construction began.

“We had so much trouble trying to attract any kind of business such as small restaurants because of that property. We couldn’t go forward,” Gluck said.