Ray’s Pizza to Replace Long-Abandoned KFC Building on Corner of Route 112 and Hallock Avenue in Port Jefferson Station

A pizzeria – called Ray’s Pizza – is being built on the long vacant Kentucky Fried Chicken property on the southeast corner of Route 112 and Hallock Avenue in Port Jefferson Station. The owners faced problems with the existing KFC peaked roof that caused them to ask for facade change from the Brookhaven Town Planning Board at the September 11th meeting last month. The owners also responded to the local civic, which requested additional facade changes and considerations.

Construction has begun on the new pizzeria but the developers found the roof structure was “inadequate and unsafe,” according to a Brookhaven Town Planning Board meeting on September 11th. On September 11th, the owners went before the planning board to get a change to the facade to construct a flat roof instead of the previously planned peaked style.

Nadia Avila, the applicant for the new restaurant, appeared at the meeting along with her father Ray, whose last name was not given. The owner of the property is listed as Circle Four Realty.

It was verified that the owner Ray is the reason why the pizzeria is called Ray’s Pizza.

Avila said that the roof structure was collapsing and the construction crew had to take it down to maintain the safety of the work environment. The building plans would stay the same except with a flat roof instead of the former design left over from the old KFC.

“It’s really just not rebuilding the cosmetic structure that we would like to have approval on,” Avila said.

She said that a Brookhaven Town inspector stopped work on the property. The owners are also meeting with the local civil association to discuss the change they propose and present their plans.

The KFC building had been abandoned for more than 20 years prior to this proposed development. Back in 2012, Suffolk County put the property up for auction. At the time, the building had been attracting homeless people who had been sleeping there during the winter, according to local accounts.

At the planning board meeting, a community member requested that a large 200-year old American elm tree on the property be protected and preserved. Avila said that the tree is on New York State property and they had previously offered to purchase the land to preserve the tree but they do not currently own it. She also said they own the adjacent Carvel property as well and will keep the dumpster in the same location on the lot but just make it larger to accommodate the addition of the pizzeria.

Joan Nickerson, community liaison for the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber of Commerce, expressed that they welcomed the new owners but wanted to point out that the building is very visible in the area because of its location. She pointed to the recommendations for the area outlined in the Port Jefferson Station Commercial Hub Study, of which Nickerson said she was on the steering committee.

“Because this building is in a prominent corner in our commercial hub there is opportunity to impress and work with the community that put some much time into this guidance and these recommendations,” Nickerson said.

She encouraged the applicant to make themselves familiar with the community’s business hub study report and arrange a meeting to talk about their guidance for design and architectural features for their new building. She recommended looking at some other buildings in the immediate area and their architectural features to match them. She recognized that the applicants were redeveloping a site that had been an eyesore for decades.

“With great opportunity comes great responsibility,” said Nickerson of their proposed plans.

At the end of the meeting, the board recommended the owners wait until the civic association reviewed the plans of the building and gave their blessing before the board approved the facade change request.

Avila said that they had already waited four years for the building permits and that the civic did approve of their plans, unofficially.

The board voted to keep the motion open until the October 2nd planning board meeting.

At the later meeting on October 2nd, an expeditor representing the applicant said they met with the civic who agreed to the changes proposed. The owners also agreed to design suggestions from the hub study steering committee about the facade including a traditional sign with lighting (not backlit).

“We’re glad as a community to see a reuse of this site,” said Ira Costell, president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association, who was at the October 2nd meeting.

He did bring up traffic flow issues and congestion at the intersection, which will only get more burdensome with the proposed development of a multifamily building across the street. Costell also suggested the exit from the property to Hallock Avenue be right hand turn only. The board assured Costell that they suggested onsite directional signage indicating no left turn be installed at the Hallock Avenue egress.

In the end, Costell and the Town Board were appreciative that the site was finally being redeveloped.

“It was an eyesore for 30 years,” said Planning Board Chairperson Steven Wilutis. “This is much better.”

The board closed the public hearing and placed the matter on the decision calendar.

📷 Brookhaven Town Planning Department.

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