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Northport downtown hotel plan wins $1.3M tax breaks, final approval

The hotel on Main Street is to have 24 rooms and a 124-seat restaurant - a size that has created concerns about traffic and parking issues.

The 225 Main St. Northport site of a

The 225 Main St. Northport site of a planned new hotel and restaurant, seen in October 2018.  Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The proposed hotel and restaurant in downtown Northport that has created concerns about parking and traffic has won final site plan approval from the village board and $1.3 million in tax breaks from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

With those two measures, the New England-style boutique hotel at 225 Main St. moves closer to reality.

"We’re feverishly working toward the next step of the project," said hotel proprietor Kevin O'Neill, who owns the site with partner Richard Dolce. "It's great to have the site plan approval completed, and now we’re moving forward with the appropriate demolition plans." The two men also own the John W. Engeman Theater, which is across Main Street from the hotel.

The Northport planning board unanimously approved the site plan in a 5-0 vote at Tuesday's board meeting.

The IDA approved tax incentives on Feb. 28 that give the hotel sales tax exemptions and savings on mortgage recording taxes and property taxes.

The agency determined the facility's full taxes would be "about $174,268 a year," executive director Tony Catapano said. The incentive package will save the hotel owners 29 percent on taxes over the 15-year life of the agreement, and by 2035 the hotel will be paying full taxes, he said. 

The plans call for a 24-room hotel with a 124-seat restaurant and 51-seat bar on the ground floor. The 2,400-square-foot Italian steakhouse proposal has drawn concerns from residents over potential traffic and parking issues on Main Street. The Northport business development committee earlier this year released a study that concluded the village already lacks about 248 parking spaces during peak seasonal business period in the summer.

O'Neill said the hotel will provide off-street parking for 150 cars through new parking lots behind the building and offer valet parking service using other lots.

Catapano said the IDA's economic impact analysis model showed about 66 jobs will be created during the construction period. The hotel owners will pay about $87,000 in taxes in the first year once the hotel is built, he said, adding that while the incentive package saves the hotel developers money, they are also spending about the same amount on building the parking lot behind the hotel.

"The cost of that is about $1.3 million, which is the same as what we're providing in incentives. So one could look at it as well, we're helping with the cost of the parking structure," Catapano said.

The IDA said that in 2018, the town and village tax bill for the 225 Main Street site was $56,545. Even with the IDA incentive package, the taxes on the new hotel are higher than what the vacant building's taxes would have netted the village if nothing was built on the site, O'Neill said.

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