December 20, 2021
(NORTHPORT, N.Y.) —Things will soon change in the quaint downtown of Northport Village as a 26-room luxury hotel is set to open come the new year. The Northport Hotel, located at the corner of Main Street and Woodside Ave in Northport, NY, will be Northport Village’s first downtown lodging, and with this big change comes big support from residents and surrounding businesses.
Walking down Main Street in Northport Village, you’ll pass locally-owned coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and a theater. The town’s waterfront location, scenic views, and activities make it a popular year-round tourist destination.
Noticing the lack of accommodations, Kevin O’Neill and Richard Dolce, co-owners of the village’s Engeman Theater have moved into the hotel business. Overall, the small waterfront community is excited about the new luxury edition coming to the town next fall.The Engeman Theater, at 250 Main Street, is a well-established and respected regional theater, owned by O’Neill and Dolce for the past 14 years. With 400 seats, Engeman’s shows attract guests from as far as Westchester, NY about 60 miles west and the eastern end of Long Island some 80 miles east.
O’Neill and Dolce wanted to give attendees a place to stay before or after the show, so in 2017 they purchased the three-story building opposite the theater.
“It’s going to fill a need that we’ve had,” said O’Neill, confident in his upscale creation.
The Town of Huntington has four incorporated villages; Asharoken, Huntington Bay, Lloyd Harbor, and Northport, all of which make popular tourist destinations with waterfront access and views. For wedding guests, tourists, and other out-of-towners, the closest hotels are located in Melville or Commack, approximately a 30-minute drive from these villages. According to the U.S. census, as of 2018, the Town of Huntington had a population of 201,546 people, and for such a large number, they have very limited space for lodging.
Though many support the addition, some residents are worried about the impact the hotel will have on traffic which causes delays and congestion, especially in the summer months. Marissa Collins, a Northport Village native and resident is concerned that the town will become overwhelmed with a hotel “on top of everything else” in the village.
To prevent overcrowded parking lots, the hotel will have 50 on-site parking spots behind the building, increasing the village’s 601 spots by 9%, according to O’Neill. The theater already provides valet parking at a local church.
Skipper’s restaurant is on the corner of Main Street and Woodbine Ave, making it the closest eatery to the water and an easy, delicious place to dine. Walk away from the water and towards the hotel and there’s Tim’s Shipwreck Diner on your right, adjacent to the Northport Sweet Shop. Feed & Grain is just a few storefronts down from the sweet shop, with The Wine Cellar across the street, and Rockin’ Fish as one of the last restaurants on the left before arriving at the new hotel. These small downtown businesses are expected to see a large economic impact as guests from near and far dine, drink, and shop along Main Street.
With a 200-seat, first-floor Italian steakhouse that is open to the public and a complimentary coffee and pastry cart on the second floor for guests, the hotel will have a lot to offer, except for a sit-down style breakfast. Guests looking to dine-in for breakfast will have to hit a restaurant downtown, and Tim’s Shipwreck Diner has been a local favorite for the past 50 years.Tim Hess, owner of the Shipwreck Diner, can’t wait to welcome hotel guests to his family-owned eatery. He says that the diner already sees a number of customers who dine-in before Engeman’s Sunday matinees, so they expect to see many of the hotel guests coming in for a bite. “We’re ready,” said Hess, “I think it’s going to be really great for the village.”
“The theater brings people on a year-round basis,” said O’Neill. “We [the theater] bring 125,000 people per year, and that has a significant ripple effect economically for all the merchants down the block.” The Village is home to a variety of small businesses, as bars, restaurants, and boutiques line both sides of Main Street.
Over The Top Watersports, a local family-owned and operated boating charter expects new business from hotel guests who want to enjoy the harbor. “Our team is super excited for the development,” said Kevin Cryer-Hassett. “With it being only steps away from the Northport Town Dock, we expect our water sports service to see a number of guests joining us on our Wake-Boat. We fully support the hotel’s endeavors, we’re looking forward to it.”After demolishing the 17,610-square foot office building, construction on the hotel started back in 2018, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused long delays in the process. With inspiration from the Delamar Hotel in Southport, C.T., the Northport Hotel will have a white panel exterior along with a mansard roof, matching the classic style of the surrounding village.
Northport’s local businesses are not the only ones excited to welcome the new hotel to the neighborhood. Jeannine Tayler Stack, a fifth-generation resident of Northport, lives right in the village and is thrilled about the hotel. “My husband and I are both architects, and we agree the size and style are very fitting for Northport. Aesthetically, it balances out that side of the street,” she said.
The hotel’s white, elegant exterior will fit the aesthetic of the surrounding village, keeping the street’s vintage feeling alive. “Northport is such a special town that has its open/common park right on the water. So many people enjoy gathering there so I am very pleased the hotel is up the street closer to the theater,” she said.
Jennifer Wipfler Morris Biancanello, another local also welcomes the development. “The placement of the hotel down a side block will help keep the small-town feel of the harbor area, and it is not overwhelming in size or out of place with the architecture,” she said. “I can’t wait until it is ready for guests.”
Local small businesses like Over The Top and many of the shops that line Main Street expect the hotel will boost their business. “Our beautiful village will experience a positive economical impact as soon as the hotel opens,” said Cryer-Hassett.
“Our customer base is very loyal… our patrons from the theater,” said O’Neill. “There’s a lot of excitement from them. That’s confidence in the way we run our theater and that will translate to the hotel.”
Already, O’Neill has heard people’s plans for a mini staycation in the village, grabbing drinks downtown and spending the night at the hotel rather than returning home. O’Neill expects company in the business as Hilton plans to add a hotel in nearby Huntington Village. Is he worried?
Not really, as his is a different type of operation. “It’s going to be a landmark pretty quickly on Long Island.”