Plan for Farmingdale Hilton Hotel nearly dead
An 85-room Hilton hotel planned in downtown Farmingdale that advocates called the "linchpin" of ambitious revitalization efforts has been all but scrapped, village officials and the local developer said.
Finding lenders to back the hotel "is where we hit stumbling blocks," Farmingdale-based developer Anthony Bartone said Tuesday.
"We're going to potentially abandon the hotel concept, though it's still being looked at," he said. "The climate today is difficult at best as far as financing goes."
The proposed $15-million hotel, an extended-stay Home2 Suites by Hilton on Secatogue Avenue, was one of two major projects in a mixed-use complex envisioned near the Long Island Rail Road station. The second project -- the $30-million Bartone Plaza with 115 apartment units and 17,000 square feet of retail space -- is to go ahead as planned across the street, Bartone said. Construction is set to begin in the spring, he said.
Another, smaller mixed-use complex has been proposed in place of the hotel, officials said.
Bartone said his company has partnered with Irving, Texas-based development company TDI, which will take the lead on the Farmingdale projects.
Bartone and TDI submitted an application to the planning board for a complex with 39 residential units and 5,000 square feet of retail space, "a 'mini me' of the development across the street," Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said Tuesday. The application is to be considered Jan. 22.
The proposal will go through the public hearing process and officials "will be actively evaluating the plans for density, traffic and parking," Ekstrand said.
"I personally favored the hotel," he said. "Another mixed-use and commuter-oriented space is not truly what I wanted, but it's better than a vacant parking lot."
Bartone said he is "very disappointed about the hotel, but I'm pleased that we have a national partner and that we're breaking ground."
The change in gears came as a shock to residents and civic leaders invested in the revitalization process. Former Mayor George Starkie's tenure included four years of heated debate about the hotel and its place in the master plan.
"We went through heaven and earth -- and moved heaven and earth -- to make that a reality," he said Monday. "It was the linchpin that was going to make this property work."
He added, "It boggles my mind that the board would even entertain something else."
Resident Joe Carosella said the news took him by surprise.
"I'm stunned," he said. "This thing was going on for years and years and years."