By Andrew Wroblewski
The potential developer of 400 Park Ave. in Huntington – former location of Platt’s Tavern, where it’s said George Washington once dined – believes his proposal for a medical office on the property could “revive” the historic area, despite backlash from local preservationists.
Currently in the process of requesting a zone change from the Town of Huntington, Dominick Mavellia said the makeover of the corner of Park Avenue and Route 25A would sport a life-sized statue of George Washington and 17th-century look, and could possibly increase traffic flow.
“We’re talking about an area in the Old Green historic district… where George Washington dined and addressed his troops,” Mavellia, current owner of the former gas station building on the property, said. “We want to build something that we can all be proud of, something special.”
Mavellia wants the zoning changed from residential R-15 to commercial C-4 to move forward with plans to build a 10,000 square-foot medical office on the premises.
Stuart Fischer, owner of Park Ave Deli – which is currently active on the property as a grandfathered-in business – said in March that he agreed to sell his building to Mavellia should the developer receive approval from the town for the project.
During the March 10 town board meeting, a vote was planned to determine whether the zone change should go to a public hearing, but it was pulled because Mavellia had not yet met with all of the town board members, town spokesman A.J. Carter said. Mavellia confirmed during an interview on March 20 that he was in the process of meeting with the town board members prior to the next scheduled town board meeting on April 21.
The proposed building, for which the architect is Matthew Degiaimo, would be divided between offices for North Shore LIJ and GoHealth Urgent Care. The plans are currently on file with town offices.
Local preservationists, however, believe the proposal is unfit for the historic area.
Mavellia said he was surprised by the concerns.
“I believe that we’re planning on reviving that 17th-century look, certainly,” he said. “We’re proposing a saltbox roof line, Dutch-style chimneys and bringing George back from the grave. I would think that they would welcome this with open arms.”
Mavellia said he has been in contact with Town Historian Robert Hughes and the Historic Preservation Commission during the process of assembling the proposal for the building.
“The commission made several suggestions [during preliminary review in February],” Hughes said in an emailed statement March 25. “I do not know if the plans have been revised to incorporate those comments. Nothing further has been received by the commission.”
The 1.06-acre property once housed the historic Platt’s Tavern in the 1700s. Known as Woodhull Corner, 400 Park Ave. is said to have welcomed President George Washington to dinner at Platt’s Tavern on April 23, 1790 as a part of the president’s tour of Long Island.
Mavellia also said that he has been working with Spirit of Huntington Art Center, in Huntington Station, which used to operate out of the now-vacant gas station, to work on the proposed statue of Washington.
The proposal could also improve traffic flow for the intersection, Mavellia said.
“We’ll be creating an additional separate turning lane onto 25A and we feel that, with a medical office, people don’t come in and out – they stay for a couple hours, get treated and then leave,” Mavellia said, adding that he’s been working alongside traffic expert VHB Engineering. “When the gas station and deli were both operating there was more traffic than there will ever be with our proposal.”