By Danny Schrafel
The owner of the burnt-out commercial building at 425 New York Ave. in Huntington village said he in contract to sell the longtime eyesore at the southern gateway to Huntington village to a local developer.
Current owner Gary Field said the building will be torn down as soon as the demolition permit from the New York State Department of Transportation is transferred -- “within a couple of weeks.” Field wouldn’t identify the prospective buyer by name, but said it’s a local construction company owner.
The current 12,000-square-foot structure was gutted by a fire in March 2014. Field said the prospective buyer expects to move ahead with approved plans to rebuild the property. The expanded 18,000-square-foot mixed-use building will include with commercial space on the first floor and a total of 10 apartments on the second and third floors.
Bob Scheiner, chairman of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, said word of impending demolition of the building, which is located at the southern entrance to Huntington village along New York Avenue, is welcome news.
“From a standpoint of the look of the village, this is going to be a critical element,” Scheiner, said. “When you come into the village, it’s the first thing you see.”
Scaffolding was installed around the building’s perimeter last week, and work crews could be seen Wednesday cleaning out the charred insides of the building.
While Field admitted it’s been “a slog” to demolish the eyesore, he said Town Hall has been cooperative.
“They’ve moved things along as quickly as they could,” he said.
Field said he remembers the call that came when his building was on fire like it was yesterday.
“A friend of mine who was going to eat at Red called me just about as I was going into a concert in New York City,” Field said.
That friend told him the smoke was “so thick that that you couldn’t see the building from across the street,” Field recalled. He turned around and rushed back to Huntington, where he saw the devastation first-hand.
At the time of the fire, Suffolk County Arson Squad investigators said the fire, which appeared to begin in Field’s law office, did not appear to be criminal in nature.