Thriving is a web-series created by Sabre Real Estate in which CEO Jay Siano interviews local business owners. They tell their stories of how they grew to success, and how they continue to THRIVE in a competitive market. The following is a group of transcribed highlights from Episode 2.
(Full episode at bottom of page)
Guest: Anthony Bartone: Terwilliger & Bartone Properties
JAY SIANO — I’m here today with Anthony Bartone from Terwilliger & Bartone Properties. We’re gunna talk about what they’re doing today on Long Island, the project we’re standing in by the train station, and the general future for development on Long Island. Farmingdale is thriving, thanks in part to you. So tell me about this project we’re standing in.
ANTHONY BARTONE — We’re standing right now in The Cornerstone in Farmingdale. Cornerstone is a name we’re gunna be more or less branding as we go forward. But this is phase 3 of a 3-phase Transit-Oriented Development here in the village of Farmingdale. This particular building is exclusively residential, 42 units. We only build Class A properties that are fully amenitized. We’re in the club room of this particular asset. Across the hall it’s got a fitness center. A cool amenity here is that Cornerstone Farmingdale has the 1st rooftop patio on Long Island.
This is the first project done under the Terwilliger & Bartone flag. I partnered with Ron Terwilliger, and if you’re not in real estate development that name might not mean much to you but if you are, then you’ll know who that is. Ron’s the retired chairman of Trammell Crow, and he has done over 1100 building and 260,000 units in his career. He has the distinction of being the largest multi-family developer in history. That partnership is very cool.
“The 90/10 Rule. 90% of Long Island we don’t want to do very much to. There’s 10% that we need to strategically redevelop.”
JAY SIANO — Transit-Oriented, Mixed-Use, you’re hearing this everywhere. It seems like everybody wants to be a Mixed-Use developer on Long Island. How do you think that impacts your company and differentiate yourself when everybody wants to be you?
ANTHONY BARTONE — Well, that’s where you wanna be. There’s been so many different people who’ve said it very well: The 90/10 Rule. 90% of Long Island we don’t want to do very much to. There’s 10% that we need to strategically redevelop. Where’s the most opportune place to do that? Around the transit hubs. Typically you can find warehouses that, by today’s standards, are just a way underutilized space, which was the story here in Farmingdale. So, is there more competition? I’m not gunna say yes or no. There’s always gunna be that insulation factor on Long Island where it’s just such a high barrier-to-entry market. We exist in this very unique little niche. We typically gravitate towards a 40-unit to 100-unit project. We have the capabilities of doing much, much larger, and sometimes a little smaller. But, being in that niche keeps us off the radar of the national institutional players, and we’re a little bit larger than the regular mom n’ pops, so they can’t really compete with us. We find ourselves in a pretty cool niche, and it’s working very well.
JAY SIANO — Since you’ve developed this area, how’s the impact been on Main Street?
ANTHONY BARTONE — Just walking down the street, the energy is alive, it’s vibrant, you can feel it. You can’t even put it into words. Before we started this project — granted, it was coming out of the recession so we’ll give some credit to that — there were 23 vacant stores on Main Street. Within a short period after we started, there was one. You’re seeing all Class A tenants now. We got Starbucks, nationals, very powerful restaurateurs. Blight is infectious, as is gentrification. It’s infectious. You don’t want to be the guy on Main Street who has the sub-par store, so you’re putting money back into your business, and the rents are such that you CAN do that. It speaks volumes for how it should be. Farmingdale is the #1 downtown on Long Island.