By Janee Law
Kevin O’Neill and Richard Dolce, co-owners of the John W. Engeman Theater, presented the tentative parking plan for their proposed three-story, Northport Village inn at Tuesday’s trustee meeting.
The plan calls for a total of 54 parking spaces — 30 of which will be new — across two Woodside Avenue lots, which will be expanded and renovated as part of the plan. The lots sit behind the 225 Main St. plot eyed, up on the hill along Woodside.
O’Neill and Dolce, managing director and producing artistic director of Engeman Theater respectively, plan to expand the two parking lots 15 feet to the east into a wooded area. O’Neill said they also plan to take the lower lot and move it back while moving the upper lot forward so that is upper lot is suspended over the other. There will be separate entrances for both lots, avoiding the need for a ramp between the two, which O’Neill said would take up parking spaces.
In addition to renovating the parking lots, O’Neill said he will also help resolve the rapids in Northport by installing drainage and dry wells under the lower lot to catch water coming down from the upper lot, preventing roof water from running onto Main Street.
In January 2016, both O’Neill and Dolce bought the building, which is across the street and few steps west of their theater.
A rendering of the proposed inn depicts it as a three-story building that would total approximately 22,000 square feet, O’Neill said. Dubbed as The Northport Inn, the building was inspired by The American Hotel in Sag Harbor, he added.
The multimillion-dollar project also calls for restaurant on the first floor. The upper floors would be a mix of around 22-24 rooms, and would also have some office space for management.
Dorothy Walsh, Northport resident and recording secretary for the Northport Chamber of Commerce, read a statement from members of the chamber at Tuesday’s trustee meeting.
“We receive calls all the time from residents and out of towners looking for accommodations for their friends and relatives, visiting for weddings and other events. Unfortunately, we have to suggest accommodations far from Northport,” Walsh said. “Kevin and Richard have certainly demonstrated in the past their concern for the quality of life in the village and have brought such a beautiful venue in the John W. Engeman Theater on Main Street. The Northport Chamber of Commerce wholeheartedly supports their project.”
Village officials are currently mulling a proposal to alter village code to allow for the land to be used for the inn. They plan to propose the resolution at their May 2 meeting, and will set a public hearing on it May 16.
If approved, O’Neill said, he’d like to break ground in October. Since they haven’t gone into detail with planning, he added, O’Neill wouldn’t be surprised if the project is pushed to the start of 2018.
In the meantime, he said, “The mayor and the trustees have all been very receptive to the concept and we’re happy to provide them with whatever they need to continue to make this project advance.”