Plans are moving forward, adding two new boutique-style hotels to the Town of Huntington — the goal being to bring people to both Huntington village and Northport.
George Tsunis and Rosario Cassata, developers with Huntington Village Hotel Partners, worked alongside the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to approve a plan that will remodel the old Huntington Town Hall building into a Hampton Inn & Suites.
Anthony Catapano, executive director of the IDA, said the 110-year-old historic structure has become a vacant space over the last 10 years, so utilizing the property into something that can bring business downtown, he thinks, is exciting.
“The area has a tourism aspect,” he said. “The new owner is experienced in hotel operations and will be able to manage it. I think it will be a successful endeavor and a plus to downtown Huntington.”
Located at 227 Main St., the outside facade will not change.
“The 80-room hotel will be built in the back, and the front will be meeting rooms,” he said. “It will still keep its original look.”
Catapano added that the empty building is accruing $60,000 each year in property taxes, so the inn will bring plenty of incentives, and people, to the town.
“It will encourage visitors to use the amenities in the village,” he said. “The hotel itself will become a destination.”
Catapano said the construction process will take about 18 months.
“Originally it was set for the second quarter of 2021, but because of COVID it’s looking like it will probably spill into 2022,” he said. “It’s starting to gear up. Hospitality and the hotel business have been hit hard because of the pandemic.”
As of right now, workers began gutting the space and cleaning up asbestos. Catapano said the building’s developer is looking forward to bringing a change to the village.
“He’s very eager,” he said. “He’s from Huntington and wants to make a positive impact.”
Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinnaci (R) is supportive of the boutique hotel.
“The addition of a hotel will bring a much-needed dimension to the overall downtown Huntington experience,” he said in a statement.” With a concert venue right in the center of the village, along with the numerous shops and restaurants, visitors can now have a place to stay for a mini-vacation right here. This is great for the local economy and will be sure to make Huntington even more vibrant in the years to come.”
A little more than five miles away in Northport, a smaller hotel is being built.
Developed by John W. Engeman Theater owners Kevin O’Neill and Richard Dolce, a 24-room hotel, Italian steakhouse and bar is being developed at 224 Main St. right across the street.
“Northport is a beautiful harbor town,” O’Neill said. “People who come and visit here will ask ‘Where is the local inn?’”
The Engeman Theater brings roughly 110,000 people to the village every year, which obviously didn’t happen in 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis.
O’Neill said construction also needed to be halted when the pandemic hit.
“We’re building later than I wanted,” he said. “We’re hoping for a fall 2021 completion.”
At the end of 2015, he purchased the building across the street from his theater. His goal was to bring “a combination of an old beautiful building with something modern inside.”
Now that people are starting to get more comfortable, O’Neill said construction
“The inn will be a way to get people here on a year-round basis,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Although, compared to the old Huntington Town Hall hotel, it will be built completely new, he said, but the Northport Hotel will have “real old-world charm.”
“There used to be hotels on Main Street 100, 125 years ago,” he said. “I want it to feel like it’s 100 years old, with modern amenities.”