PATCHOGUE: Pitching a New Hotel in Patchogue

FIN Patchogue hotel-2
A rendering of the Hilton.
Image courtesy Inc. Village of Patchogue.
Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri with a photo of the Clifton Hotel, one of many that did business in Patchogue.Photo by Lori Devlin.

As Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri says, “it’s not a new idea, just a resurrected one.”

He’s talking about the Tempo by Hilton hotel project winding its way toward possible approval by Patchogue village officials.

A public hearing was held on May 13 to consider a zone change from E Industrial District to Hotel District by West Avenue Partners LLC at 138 West Avenue.

To prove his point, Pontieri displayed a photo of The Clifton, dated 1893, located on Bay Avenue and the Great South Bay on 10 acres at what’s currently Shorefront Park.

“There were a thousand rooms between Blue Point into Patchogue and East Patchogue at one time,” he said. “The Smithport Hotel and White House hotels on South Ocean Avenue are now Bay Village condominiums. Halcyon Manor on Bay Avenue is now the village recreation center.”

According to “Patchogue, Past & Present” by Greater Patchogue Historical Society treasurer and historian Steve Lucas, there was the Old Oak Hotel on East Main Street, the Laurel House, the Algonquin and Ocean Avenue hotels, and the Mascot, all on South Ocean Avenue.

“Many stayed, some until around the early 1990s. A few were turned into boarding houses,” said Pontieri.

The proposed hotel includes a 6-floor, 116-room, 73 feet tall building with 16 residential apartments, a requirement of the floating district.

Parking would accommodate 119 spaces, there would be amenities like meeting and event spaces, a rooftop bar, gym and outdoor seating.

“This space with its location close to the Patchogue-Watch Hill Fire Island ferry next door and the Davis Park ferry nearby, easy connection to downtown and within walking distance and the Long Island Railroad, seemed desirable,” Pontieri said.

The old Bowl Long Island, once a thriving recreational business, stands empty where the hotel is being pitched.

It closed five years ago after a storm-related roof collapse.

Pontieri was asked about environmental safeguards. The 1.2-acre site borders the Patchogue River.

“They’re hooked into our sewer, and we have the capacity to service them,” Pontieri said. “That’s what makes this work. All drainage must be kept on site and can’t be transferred into the river. They’ll be responsible for onsite draining.”

The entrance would be set back and face the corner of West and Division streets where an apartment building is being constructed.

“There will be trees lining the front of the building. You’ll see parking and green spaces.”

Thirty-five people attended the public hearing. Some liked the idea. Others didn’t.

“There was questioning from a resident regarding the adequacy of parking,” village attorney Brian Egan wrote in an email. “The Board is weighing the developer’s presentation and the public comments and will evaluate whether the developer adequately presented its case for the Change of Zone from E Industrial to the Hotel Business Zone.

“The Board of Trustees may bring the developer back to answer further questions or close the proceeding and send it to Suffolk County Planning Commission for their consideration.”

Pontieri added, “There were people who came with legitimate concerns. One person mentioned a potential for human trafficking. We have the Suffolk County Police Precinct located right in the village and a fairly large code enforcement staff. The things people are concerned about we can manage.”

Both historians Hans Henke and Greater Patchogue Historical Society treasurer Steve Lucas have documented changes in the village with photos in their books.

“There were around 30 to 35 hotels and establishments similar to bed and breakfasts in Patchogue,” Lucas said. “I think the Hilton is a great idea considering the zoning, because you could have a factory there. With the overlay district this is a much better idea.”