A large hotel project proposed in the heart of Babylon Village that would include apartments, retail and a big courtyard has the support of the mayor, who said he wants to bring life to a “really desolate area.”
A development group has submitted a preliminary application to the village to build a three-building complex that includes a 70-room hotel, 30 apartments and retail stores. It would be built on a 1 ¼-acre parcel at 16 George St. that is home to a bus depot.
The three-story buildings would surround a 12,000-square-foot courtyard with benches, fountains and a plaza open to the public.
Melville-based attorney Joseph Buzzell represents Babylon Village Hotel Partners LLC, whose principals Ross Cassata, Roberto Nicolia and George Tsunis own other hotels on Long Island.
“The project would make the whole area a lot more pedestrian-friendly and really invigorate that stretch of the village downtown,” Buzzell said.
The developers of the unnamed hotel, referred to as the Babylon Courtyard project, may also seek tax breaks from the Babylon Industrial Development Agency.
“We have had preliminary discussions with the IDA,” Buzzell said. “Whether it actually produces an application has yet to be worked out.”
The developers held a community meeting with the public last fall, and Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino said he welcomes the project.
“I think it would be an asset for the village,” he said. “But like anything else in any project, you can’t fit an elephant in a teacup.”
Kelly Peckholdt, president of the Babylon Village Chamber of Commerce and owner of Positions Dance Studio, expressed the same sentiment.
“I think it is definitely a welcome addition,” Peckholdt said. “It’s nice to have a place where people coming in from out of town can stay . . . What’s currently proposed might be a little too much.”
Peckholdt said she would like to see a smaller boutique hotel or a bed-and-breakfast but appreciated that the developers were “seemingly interested in hearing what the feedback from the community was and working with the community,” she said of the fall meeting.
Buzzell said the project has undergone serval iterations in response to input from residents and village officials.
One component that might change again is where parking will be located, he said. Valet parking is slated for an existing 81-spot parking lot across Deer Park Avenue.
The village may push the application into the formal review process or ask the developers for more changes.
Decades ago, Babylon was a resort town, attracting New York City residents to its Great South Bay. It was home to several hotels but currently has none.
The project would be one of the largest in recent village history, officials said. The village and Town of Babylon have an intermunicipal agreement for the town to provide legal, environmental review, planning and development review services.
“I felt it was important . . . that we needed to help our partners in the village,” Supervisor Rich Schaffer said. “We'll help make this be a smooth public hearing process and public review process.”
Costs will be passed on to the developers, Buzzell said.
SIZING UP THE PROJECT
- Land — 1.25 acres
- Buildings – 3
- Hotel rooms – 70
- 1- and 2-bedroom apartments – 30
- Parking spots – 81
- Courtyard – 12,000 square feet