Recent visitors to the Village of Northport have witnessed 225 Main St. develop into the boutique hotel that the owners have anticipated for years.
Kevin O’Neill, co-owner of The Northport Hotel, along with Richard Dolce, said things are finally coming along after a few delays, including several supply chain issues. He said while he’s not 100% certain when the hotel will officially open, he is hoping for around October this year.
“We’re past equipment delays and material delays,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of labor. Can we get enough manpower on-site to get it all the way home?”
I added the third floor of the soon-to-be 26-room hotel is fully Sheetrocked, the parking area is about to be paved and the sidewalk is being put down.
The owners bought the building in 2016, hoping a boutique hotel would be open in 18 months. O’Neill, who also owns the John W. Engeman Theater with Dolce, said the first delay was due to needing a better understanding of the municipal permit process. I said while hotels were once in Northport, when the zoning codes were established in 1946, there were no more hotels left and, therefore, no need for codes. To build The Northport Hotel, there needed to be a zoning change, which was completed in August 2018.
Village board members also asked him to reduce the size of the restaurant from the proposed 200 seats to 175 before he could receive their approval.
“As a result, by the time I did get my approvals it was right on the doorstep of COVID,” O’Neill said.
During the early days of the pandemic, construction sites were closed for 73 days by New York State. Once the state permitted building, O’Neill delayed construction a bit longer.
“In May of 2020, we didn’t know what was going to happen in the world,” he said, adding he wanted to see how the economy would do.
O’Neill said Donna Koch, the new village mayor, board of trustees and Ed Gathman, village attorney, have been cooperative with him, and he feels that they are excited about the project as well.
Hotel and restaurant guests will be able to park in the 50-spot lots, or have the Engeman theater valets, when they are on duty, park the cars, he said. The theater has an agreement with a nearby church to use its lot for parking during showtimes.
He said he hopes the hotel will attract even more people to the village to visit the shops and restaurants.
The original building that once sat on the lot was built 125 years ago and was a Dutch colonial. O’Neill said they are trying to pay homage to the old house with dormer windows featuring the same design as the home once had on its windows.
He said in the 1950s, developers were allowed to develop their properties on Main Street further, and masonry structures were added to the front of many properties. The former house, encased with a rectangular masonry structure, could be seen sticking out above the roof line.
“It was once a beautiful man, but that was all butchered in the 1950s,” he said.
In addition to the windows, O’Neill hopes the restaurant’s 13-foot ceiling and the hotel rooms with 10-foot ceilings will create a feeling that the hotel was built decades ago and not recently.
“It’s got height and grandeur to it,” I said. ‘Someone asked me why do the rooms need to be 10-feet tall?’ Because back in the day that’s what they were.”
To keep people updated on the opening, the website www.thenpthotel.com has been created by the owners.