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Jul 22, 2009 6:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Developers share details of new Hampton Business and Technology Park

Jul 22, 2009 6:28 PM

Plans for the new technology park at Gabreski Airport are advancing and now include eight structures, traditional-looking siding that will fit in with Westhampton’s architecture, and a berm along Old Riverhead Road, according to the developers of the park.

Gregg and Mitchell Rechler, the developers behind the Hampton Business and Technology Park, presented their latest plans for the 485,000-square-foot industrial complex to members of the Francis S. Gabreski Airport Community Advisory Board last Thursday, July 16. They said their plans for the buildings, which still must be approved by the Southampton Town Planning Board, will blend in with the Hamptons’ aesthetic and feature traditional architecture and cedar shake siding.

The Rechlers own Rechlers@Gabreski LLC, a corporation that is specifically dedicated to the development of the Hampton Business and Technology Park and is a smaller branch of Rechler Equity Partners of Melville.

“We’re known for our modern architecture, but we’ve studied older buildings for this,” said Gregg Rechler, during his 10-minute presentation, which will also be given during the Southampton Town Planning Board meeting today, Thursday, July 23. “We have a good combination of brick, stone and high-end metal panels that are contextual for the area.”

The Rechlers signed a 40-year lease to build and manage the technology park in May, following nine months of negotiations with Suffolk County, which owns the land. The county is expected to pocket about $38 million in rent over the course of the lease.

The park, which is expected to create about 700 new jobs on the East End, will cost Rechler about $90 million to build. The ground-breaking for the park is set for sometime next spring.

Mr. Rechler said he expects to submit site plans to the Southampton Town Planning Board in the next few months, explaining that he, his brother and architects are almost finished designing the project.

“We’re still fine-tuning the design,” Mr. Rechler said. “The plan changes as we develop further and further.”

The park will be built in a series of phases, depending on which potential tenants contact him first, Mr. Rechler said. The industrial complex is expected to house a bunch of technology-based companies, such as those that will focus on homeland security.

“We’ll be getting building permits on a one-off basis,” Mr. Rechler said, explaining that his firm will secure permits for each building one at a time. “The market and leases will drive what’s built.”

Mr. Rechler said a day care facility will operate in the park, and the complex will feature a walking trail that will encircle it.

Gabreski Airport Community Advisory Board Member Hank Beck, who is also a board member of the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce, wanted to know how soon the 145-room hotel would be built.

“The chamber would like to see the hotel to be the first structure in there,” Mr. Beck said.

Mr. Rechler responded that it is unclear when the hotel would be built, noting that it is the most financially risky aspect of all the businesses planned for the park.

“We’re in unchartered waters in terms of a financial perspective with hotels,” Mr. Rechler said. “New hotels ... right now are very difficult to finance.”

Despite those challenges, Mitchell Rechler said he has been in contact with several large hotel chains, though he declined to identify them by name during last week’s meeting.

Gregg Rechler said the eight buildings that will be built at the park will range in size from 5,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet. The buildings will also be LEED-certified, meaning that they will be constructed in a way that makes them more energy efficient than traditional structures.

He added that the buildings will be constructed in a way so that the entire complex offers a park-like feel. Mr. Rechler explained that there will be large, landscaped buffers flanking the buildings, which will prevent the park from looking too sterile.

“When you drive your car, it will look like landscaping,” he said. “It will feel lush and green.”

He said the average buffer in most industrial areas, such as those in Melville, is typically only 15 to 25 feet deep. At the Hampton Business and Technology Park, the buffers will range between 50 and 80 feet.

Airport Community Advisory Board Member Beecher Halsey wanted to know how long it would take crews to install the berm along the eastern side Old Riverhead Road. He suggested that the berm be installed before crews begin work on the buildings.

Mr. Rechler said the berm would not be completed until work was underway on the buildings, as soil will be moved around during construction and used to build the berm.

“I hope the berm is immediate,” said Sharon Frost, another member of the airport’s advisory board.

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"High-end metal panels" and "feature traditional architecture and cedar shake siding"? Sounds ugly already!
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 22, 09 9:33 PM
Well, let's see what the artist's conception looks like.

Something this big, and there should be some diorama, or display at the town hall. That way everyone can look at it at their leisure, right?

This an excellent use of the airport property, and will bring a sum of money that we should use wisely. Not on ridiculous salries, but how about on the people for a change? Set it aside for something like more investing in 21st centry business.

Long Island has long been a ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 24, 09 10:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
What is the purpose of the berm and why are those two advisory board members obsessed with it. There is no berm now and that airport property and it's buildings look like crap. So let's build nice new (but traditionally hamptons looking) buildings and obscure them from view with a berm? Are these people for real? It would be a mistake to put the berm in when some tasteful landscaping with some sight lines into the complex would serve all of us better.
By circaWHB (9), Westhampton Beach on Jul 29, 09 3:18 PM