Huntington Hotel project secures $3M in tax breaks
A hotel project proposed for the former Huntington Town Hall secured tax breaks from Suffolk County Thursday after developers addressed concerns about the use of construction materials and workers from outside Long Island.
The Huntington Hotel will save $3 million in taxes over 15 years, with most of the benefit in lower property tax bills.
The $10.4 million project involves converting the old town hall at 227 Main St. in Huntington village into the hotel lobby, meeting rooms and one extended-stay room. An addition behind the historic building will have 54 hotel rooms and parking underneath.
The hotel's developers, who are from Huntington, have proposed building the addition from modular components made in Pennsylvania. That plan led the county's industrial development agency last month to question the developers' commitment to using local workers and materials. A vote on the tax breaks was put off.
Jay Dobbs, one of the developers, said Thursday that they were reconsidering whether to build the components out of state. "We may go the other way," he said, referring to conventional "stick construction," which would use more local workers than modular construction.
Dobbs also said, "We will do what we can" to use local workers and supplies.
He was speaking to IDA treasurer Peter Zarcone Jr., an officer in Local 66 of the Laborers International Union. In response to questions last month from Zarcone and board member Kevin Harvey, an officer in Local 25 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the hotel developers Thursday promised to employ 75 to 90 local construction workers if they use the modular building plan.
They also said $6.5 million of the $8.9 million construction budget would be "performed and supplied by local contractors and vendors."
Zarcone and Harvey joined the other five IDA board members in approving the hotel's request for tax breaks.
Later, Zarcone said it was crucial for companies receiving help from Suffolk to employ local people and patronize local suppliers. "I'm comfortable that we are creating construction jobs, but for a project of this size, we're not creating enough jobs," he said.
The hotel is expected to open in the summer or fall of 2015 and would employ 25 in its first year. Records show the workers will earn, on average, $47,200 per year.