Huntington's namesake boutique hotel is closer to reality.
The town planning board has granted conditional site-plan approval to convert the old Town Hall building on Main Street into a hotel. It will have 55 guest bedrooms in a new four-story addition to be built behind the existing historic structure at Main and Stewart Avenue.
The two buildings will be connected by a glass atrium, with the existing building used for a lobby, reception area, office space, conference room and bar. The new building will be built above an existing parking lot on Stewart Avenue.
"We have to follow through with a few items from the planning board resolution and then we'll move forward with submitting the building permit application," Jim Margolin, the attorney for the hotel developer, Old Town Hall Operating Llc, said.
The planning board last month was receptive to most of the proposal, including a roof using an environmentally friendly vegetative material to help ease drainage issues on the property, he said.
The board did set some conditions, including requiring a performance bond for road improvements on Stewart Avenue and Gerard Street, that new sidewalks be installed on Stewart Avenue and Gerard Street, that brick pavers match the pattern and color of the downtown, and a $75,000 fee to be paid to the town to ease the impact on parking. A parking variance was needed because under town code, the proposed changes to the building would require 55 more parking spaces than now allotted.
"There is definitely a need for hotels in the northern part of town," town board member Mark Cuthbertson said. "This is terrific, and the fact that we are going to get a nice boutique hotel will add tremendously to our downtown."
Old Town Hall, built in 1910 and featuring a four-dial tower clock, ceased operation as town hall in 1979 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building sits in a historic overlay district, which gives owners of historic commercial properties and large residential estates more flexibility to explore additional uses.