Waterfront hotel proposed at Off Key Tikki
The era of hotels in the Village of Patchogue has come and gone, leaving the newly revived community awaiting the imminent arrival of what will be the first newly built hotel in decades.
According to deputy mayor Jack Krieger, the last operating hotel he remembers was the Patchogue Hotel, which used to be located across from the post office on Main Street. But that closed in the ‘60s, leaving the village sans lodging, aside from a motel on the outskirts of town.
Among talked-about plans for a new Main Street hotel, Mike Bruemmer, owner of the Off Key Tikki on the Patchogue River, is eyeing the possibility of opening Patchogue’s first hotel on the waterfront since the closure of The Clifton, located between Bay and Grove avenues, and the Mascot Hotel, located at the end of South Ocean Avenue.
The last surviving waterfront hotel, mayor Paul Pontieri recollects, was either the old Smithport Hotel turned boarding home on South Ocean — currently Bay Village — or maybe the old Winona Hotel, the current Recreation Center, both of which closed some 60 to 70 years ago.
If built, The Aqua hotel, which, according to Bruemmer, would be five stories including the semi-ground-level basement, would be built within the existing footprint of the Tikki’s current building, located at 31 Baker Place overlooking the Patchogue River.
Bruemmer, a Miller Place native now living in Ridge, envisions the basement/ground floor as a catering hall/lobby, followed by three floors of more than 50 hotel rooms and the top/fifth floor reserved for luxury condos with river, bay and ocean views.
“The hotel on Main Street was always seen as the Holy Grail and I thought, ‘why can’t we do that right here?’” he explained.
Renderings and finances are already in place, he assured, and after about what he anticipates to be a year or so of obtaining variances through the village, shovel should hit ground. As for DEC permitting, he said he already has approvals for what is currently operating and should only need to submit plans, being that the property is already hooked up to the sewer and the building will stay within the existing footprint.
According to Pontieri, despite necessary permitting and variances, the lot is zoned industrial and would be submitted as a nonconforming use. However, he suggested Bruemmer conduct a market study to back up the idea that this would make a good location for a hotel and is in fact feasible, so that it could be presented to the board. Though plans have not yet been formally submitted to the village, Pontieri said he believes having a waterfront hotel at that location with a study to back it up would give no reason not to approve it. “It’s a great idea, and the views he would have would be spectacular,” he added.
Once built, the building will be turned into a five-story hotel with a Bahamas vibe and the potential of adding a spa, to be used for destination weddings. Parking, Bruemmer explained, would also be expanded by eliminating a few existing homes on the property and an art studio for easier access to the main road.
Bruemmer purchased the property about 15 years ago with the original intention of operating his screen-printing T-shirt and embroidery business. However, after purchasing the severely dilapidated building and grounds, previously home to two boatyards with residual tree limbs and sunken boats, Bruemmer was soon made aware of necessary Department of Environmental Conservation permitting before any work could begin. Some three years later, after permitting was finally in place, Bruemmer had sold his business and no longer had a need for the property.
“It was a disaster with a broken dock, tree limbs and the building was about to fall down,” he said of the originally purchased property he eventually brought back to life. “Eventually, it became Off Key and we used the building for storage and office space.”
Now, he hopes everything will fall into place and he can build The Aqua, which will drive tourism to the village. “The thought is, if a business person is coming for meetings here, would they rather stay at the Holiday Inn at the airport or down here by the water, with a restaurant, bar, live music and access to Main Street and the theatre?” he added.
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