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Lawsuit Puts New Village Project on Hold

The approved $100 million plan for the Four Corners remains halted due to lawsuit filed by Patchogue business owners.

While a sign on the old Sweezy’s at the Four Corners still says ground will be broken on the New Village project this fall, that timeframe is now slipping away due to a pending lawsuit filed by local business owners.

“We want to get started; we would get started if the lawsuit was dropped,” said Rob Loscalzo, chief operating officer of Tritec Real Estate Company Inc.

Tritec's was in April for 291 apartments, 46,000 square feet of retail space and 18,000 square feet of office space to be placed at the Four Corners intersection in Patchogue Village.

Loscalzo said that the lawsuit was regarding parking, but stated that a report from a third party consultant given to the Business Improvement District, the village trustees and Mayor Paul Pontieri said that the project has an excess of parking spaces at full capacity.

Pontieri said that the suit was filed by a number of local businesses owners, including the , , and Elisabeth McGuire, the wife of Village judge Christopher McGuire.

A plantiff in court filings in Suffolk County Supreme Court is listed as "67 WEST MAIN ST. LLC." That's the address of the BrickHouse Brewery.

In March, before the Village Board the project by a 4-3 margin, Thomas Keegan, co-owner of the brewery, spoke about parking concerns in front of the .

“We are a little tight on parking right now,” he said. “If we have to wait two more years, the economy’s gonna turn around someday, then maybe the hotel comes and that’s what’s when we spend $20 million to build the parking facility that we need.”

A 111-room hotel for the site was scrapped from the original plans in face of a sluggish economy.

The mayor told Patch Thursday that those behind the lawsuit are fighting against a public that supports the project.

“There are five people in the Village that have made a determination (of what) the majority of people want, (but) they don’t,” Pontieri said.

Pontieri said that the suit that is being held up is actually the second of two filed by the group, the first of which was dismissed. But a judge's decision on the second is still pending.

Pontieri said he believes the Village should prevail against the lawsuit, but he emphasized a need to move forward.

“It’s a $100 million investment in this community, it’s about jobs, it’s about property taxes, it’s about taking away a blighted corner," the mayor said of the northwest corner of North Ocean Avenue and West Main Street. "That corner’s been a blight now for 11 years, can’t go any longer on this."

Loscalzo was particularly upset that the project is at a standstill.

“I cannot believe that Mayor Pontieri, what he’s had to go through....This is a witchhunt, and I want to know why, why are we so afraid to stand up for people that are doing the right thing, and not have the courage to call someone out that we feel is not doing the right thing,” Loscalzo said.

Loscalzo said he questioned what the endgame is for the group that filed the lawsuits.

“Do they have another plan, do they not realize that we own the property, if this deal doesn’t go through, what is their plan?," he said. "Are they planning on indebting property and taking it from us...then what happens to the Village of Patchogue, what happens to all of the businesses who recently, since I have been involved that have told me we are excited about this moving forward...what are you going to tell them if it doesn’t go through?"

Kevin Brosnahan, an attorney for those behind the lawsuits, said that the motion is submitted, but would not comment further to Patch about it.

According to the Aug. 4 edition of The Long Island Advance, the two lawsuits raised challenged the Zoning Board of Appeals on the length of a parking spot, and the second addressed procedural issues in the New York State Environmental Quality Act, the adoption of the zoning code and whether the project involves illegal spot zoning.

In the meantime, as fall becomes winter, a vacant Sweezy’s building remains standing at the Four Corners intersection.

A December 18, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Because the people that run those apartments are in the slumlord business and not the landlord business.
Earl December 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM
Where can some one view a copy ofthe law suit?
1 December 18, 2011 at 03:55 PM
The problem, Jared, is that TRITEC would not care if the homeless people that you are talking about are housed in those apartments. I applaud the people who have brought forth this lawsuit and apparently, from the results of the poll that started this thread, the residents of Patchogue applaud this lawsuit almost 2 to 1. Mrs. McGuire mentioned in a previous article the number of Section 8 units that TRITEC now owns which, in itself, is direct proof of where their true intentions lie. Mrs. McGuire, if you are reading this, I'd love to see the link to that information because my belief is that this idea that TRITEC is the new savior of downtown Patchogue is an absolute farce. When those 1 bdrm apartments do not rent for the 1k+ that they're talking about we'll see how fast they fill up with recipients of some type of funded housing and TRITEC will be laughing all the way to the bank, at the expense of our Village. I've seen this as a bait and switch all along and i am so disappointed that our beloved Patchogue First has gone in this direction.
1 December 18, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Part 2: Go hang out with the mob of quality people hanging around the bus stop in back of the court house during the day awaiting their free publicly funded transportation. Welcome to the new face of downtown Patchogue! It's very possible people. Open your eyes. Is it worth risking this possibility? As far as parking goes Jared, the next time you bring your friends into Patchogue to visit The brickhouse, good luck finding a space now and forget about ever finding a space if this housing goes up. When The Brickhouse was the only game in town West of Ocean parking wasn't too much of an issue. Then came several other great places, the Village picked up, you want to add 300 units right on main...forget it. It does not add up. The number of parking spaces that were allotted to The Brickouse in the parking study that was conducted barely leaves enough spaces for their employees. It's a joke and has made me lose any respect for our Village Board that worked so hard to get us where we are now.
jared December 18, 2011 at 05:45 PM
I don't under stand why people complain about parking? I got to the brick house every Saturday night and park behind BBQ JENOS PIZZA, JR's and can always find a spot. I mean I do agree that we need more parking, But there are plenty of awful looking properties that could be made into a village lot. Maybe paid parking for visitors, permits for village residents? The village should negotiate with the construction company that NO section 8 apartments would be allowed, or make them all condos, that cannot be re rented out by their owners. "Pontieri is getting his feedback, probably from you Jared as you're munching on your $5 footlong" wow, way to be kinda inappropriate.
greatsouthbay December 18, 2011 at 05:50 PM
As far as unsuccessful apartments in Hempstead, there have also been unsuccessful hotels in Hempstead: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/notorious-courtesy-hotel-ripped-down-1.2872355
Karen Ferb December 18, 2011 at 06:26 PM
About the poll: Everyone should be aware that anyone can vote as many times as he/she cares to.
Fred Diekmann December 18, 2011 at 07:44 PM
I was at the meeting when this project was approved. (yes, the 291 apts). The room broke out into applause when it was approved. One man stormed out. It seems to me, as it always is on the Internet, that the negative types come out in droves online. I don't love the plan, some owner occupied units would be great, but I'm not in charge of those decisions. Also, this idea that the plans were changed in a clandestine manner is without merit. I've been to two board meetings and I read the minutes. It wasn't a surprise to me.
1 December 18, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Not in a clandestine manner at all. It was in an obvious, right in our face, predictable manner which makes the entire deal even more unpalatable. The hotel was never a realistic option. 1. Do you feel that TRITEC has The Village of Patchogue's best interests in mind or do they have TRITEC's best interests in mind? Don't think too long on this one... 2. Because there are no covenants, and from what I understand there will be no covenants and that it's too late for covenants that will stop Section 8 occupants, are you still in favor of this potentially disastrous housing tenement at our 4 corners? These are the real questions people and no matter how we'd all like to envision the bright beautiful future that's been shoved down our throats with this absolutely spectacular structure that will anchor the future of our downtown as the picture has been painted of beautiful maidens skipping and tossing rose petals on main street as the owners of TRITEC and our illustrious Mayor parade behind them to the thunderous applause of the bourgeois, we can very well end up with a very vacant building that will deteriorate in a short period of time, that will then be sold by TRITEC to another non-caring party and we will have a huge problem that we will not be able to do anything about. This is a real possibility, not the skipping maidens spreading rose petals of course, and is it acceptable to risk this potential fate? Is it, or should we wait? (sorry about the footlong crack Jared)
Michael Sorrentino (Editor) December 18, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Just a reminder that personal attacks, patently false information and other violations of Patch's Terms will result in comment deletion, and may result in account suspension. Please see our terms here: http://patchogue.patch.com/terms
Michael Sorrentino (Editor) December 18, 2011 at 11:49 PM
And yes, the poll can be voted on as many times as one wants and should not be considered scientific nor indicative in any way.
Lisa December 19, 2011 at 12:18 AM
There's a lot of talking going on, but there doesn't seem to be alternate plans being presented by opposing parties...waiting it out for something better seems to be the only solution being presented. The four corners have been an eyesore for at least a decade now. At what point do we move forward? If there was some great idea out there I would be all for it. There was a parking study conducted by Tritec (which yes, I'm anticipating the backlash to that statement along the lines of it being skewed to their needs) but wasn't there also a independent study by the Chamber that agreed with the initial study? As for the lawsuit, lawsuits are intended to stop progress, so if someone could explain how it doesn't, that would be great. I believe it was an article 78 which stops movement forward by challenging the governing body with the intention to overturn decisions made- in this case, I would imagine the zoning permits which I think if it went against Tritec they then would need to revise their plan and resubmit it to the village. I understand the concern for renters but if this doesn't happen, what happens next? Continue to have a blighted area in the dead center of a village that has been revitalized over the last 10 years? A revitalization that began with the theater? Would we rather have a problem with parking in that all the spots are empty?
Susan Greco December 19, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Given that one can vote as many times as one wants, I doubt that the poll is anywhere near accurate. It's too bad too....I would like to know what the real numbers are. Perhaps you night be unpleasantly surprised "One."
Concerned Resident December 19, 2011 at 07:08 AM
Still finding it very hard to comprehend business owners on Main Street not wanting people living within walking distance of their restaurants and stores. It just does not make sense to me. Can anyone care to explain it? Other than the Brick House being worried that there the Village won't be providing a free parking lot for it's customers sole use as it has in the past.
1 December 19, 2011 at 01:07 PM
"If this doesn't happen, what happens next?" Unbelieveable. We have the blind leading the blind. (All comments are general observations speaking to the general public. Nothing personal toward any previous response) We don't know what may happen? Really? This is your rationalization in backing this project? Yes, we may have an unbelievable anchor at our 4 corners with 100% occupancy. With young proffessionals training into NYC shopping at our own main street stores and eating at our wonderful eateries. This is what YOU have bought into, not me. If this complex happens and this is the outcome then I will be with you on the sidelines applauding our rose petal stepping forefathers. Now let's just think for a second, put aside the parking. Yes, forget the parking issue. Sit back, close your eyes and relax... Now open your eyes and please answer my questions. Is the possible alternate result acceptable? If this housing turns sour and you do not have your successful young execs walking the streets are you ok with the opposite outcome? As you walk from Pera Bell to the Brickhouse will you be ok walking past a Section 8 community? Forget the parking. Is this outcome ok? Do you think TRITEC cares who they get paid their rent from? A young exec or the federal/local government? They do not. Good luck lawsuit! Get lost TRITEC! I'm done. I've said my piece. I wish the entire Patchogue community a happy and healthy holiday season!
Lisa December 19, 2011 at 01:17 PM
I guess my point was missed because we're so worried about what MAY happen. Not what we can do. My question is, when Sweezy's moved from the Four Corners what was that board's vision of the property? Today, what is the alternate plan? What proposals are being put forward by the opposition to turn that property into something viable? Where are the investors? Where are the renderings? Show me an alternative that I can support. Or is the solution to wait for another 10 years because there isn't a plan?
1 December 19, 2011 at 02:11 PM
YES!!! WAIT!! I applaud your, and everyone elses, optimism but in this case we must play the pessimist. The end result of a bad outcome will be the demise of everything that's been built to this point. The Sweezey building sitting vacant has not hurt the revitilization process. This place is hoppin! Let it stay vacant until we are provided with a solution that WILL, not MAY, benefit us. To say that we have not heard a better suggestion is a lazy way to vote, and honestly I don't have one, but I do know what I do not want to see and that end result is a very real possibility!
Bryley December 19, 2011 at 03:22 PM
I feel your right with regards to TRITEC-as a business their concern is with their bottom line. Where have we seen this before (Wall Street) and the end result there was not good for anyone but the banks/invesment banks and their executives. The alternative is unacceptable and if it does happen you will never be able to go to the way it was-no mulligans here, so doesnt it make sense to take time and really evaluate the entire project?
Concerned business owner December 20, 2011 at 03:50 AM
1. Where is the proof that an alternate plan will be a sure thing? There is no proof! That is because every investment has a risk, every business has a risk and yes a smart developer will have a back up plan...or a what if plan. So to say Tritec has not though of renting these apartments to section 8 or low income family would be untrue. However as a developer and property owner I can guarantee their risk is being calculated off of these apartments being rented to middle income tenants that will live and shop in the surrounding business. Tritec renting to section 8 housing will only hurt their investment. Renting to Section 8 will hurt their immediate value and projected value of this property as it will make renting and re-renting the commercial and residential spaces at this project and there adjacent property 31 main very difficult. So I believe Tritec has just as much to lose here as the Village residents do by renting to Section 8 housing. Furthermore from experience I do not believe section 8 or HUD has the resources to pay the rent (which I am sure Tritec will be asking a premium rent to ensure a decent return considering the cost of developing this project) that Tritec will be asking for 1 tenant let alone 291 tenants.
Concerned business owner December 20, 2011 at 03:55 AM
My family has owned multi-family properties in the village for the last 60 years and we have taken risks that have worked out for the best and some that haven’t but without taking risks I would not be proving a place for people to live and shop in the Village. With risks like these there would be no home and no business at all! The irony is that the brickhouse is a perfect example of a business that experienced a lot of opposition, I am sure there were very similar arguments made prior to them opening their doors. With people fearing that it would turn into bar that attracted poor elements of people that would cause havoc and destruction through the streets of the village. I would bet that you had that very concern. I still cannot see how redeveloping the gateway corner of Patchogue , creating jobs, bring more people to the village as well as increasing tax revenue is bad thing, with your only argument being that IT MAY bring low income people to the village that spend their government funded money in local business. I am sorry but your arguments are will out merit and proof. Your line of thinking leads me to believe you would have tried to talk Columbus out of sailing for fear he would drop of the earth. Without risk there is no reward...just a vacant eyesore that certainly isn't helping the revitalization process!
jared December 20, 2011 at 03:47 PM
i wonder how many times "1" voted on the poll. Why don't they make them condos? That insures that they don't turn into section 8 ( which should just be done away with but thats a whole other story)
Concerned business owner December 21, 2011 at 01:40 AM
It might be a diffucult sell as it we already have a flood of condos and town homes in the village but perhaps a combo of apartments and condos could work. A mix use would probably take some pressure off Tritec renting the apartments to the first people who comes with money and offer some first time home buyer incentives on the sale of the condos similar to what Pulte did on Copper Village.
Bob December 21, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Hey Lou, you still own Dave's liquidation?
CCOP December 21, 2011 at 04:03 AM
From what I see there is a lot of people who are against this cluster housing and the take it or leave it attitude that was shoved down our throats by Tritec. I have lived on Lake St. for 32 yrs. and feel that the area will be too congested and take away parking of existing businesses in the Village. Also why didn't the Village go after the slumlords on Lake street who have blighted our area? Their yards are not maintained and they are overcrowded.
1 December 21, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Thank you for your educated response CBO. Maybe every cloud has a silver lining, I hope this one does, but... Years ago I rented units to "funded" persons. My office handled all the particulars so you'll help me out if I'm wrong please. I don't care if you call it Sec 8, Hud, whatever. These agencies will send a person a max amount and they will need to come up w/ the rest. Let's say that max is 900 a month for a parent and child. For a 1200 rent they come up w/ 300 which most people had no problem with. Then the friends come for a few weeks, the mother's boyfriend who "really doesn't live here" is there quite often, things change rapidly out of your control, you realize you have an issue and it's 6 months to eviction. Saying that "funded persons" will not be able to afford these units is not true. Government funded people will not spend their money in the downtown that you are envisioning. They will spend their money at the dollar stores, the laundry mat and the bodegas. Our streets, as our main street demographics have swerved a bit from Latino, will be flooded during the day with the unemployed. They are now and it's not pretty.
1 December 21, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Part 2 to 1 below Is this not a possibility and is it worth the risk? This is, and always has been, my question but it has not been answered. The answer I keep reading is that this is our only hope. It is not. I do not agree that the building as it stands now is hurting the revitalization in any way. It is not the eyesore that you think it is. People do not look at it anymore, there are too many other great things to look at when visiting our downtown. What's great is that we all care and all are sharing our own opinions as opposed to some of our puppets now on the board that are beholding to others.
Bob December 21, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Anyone who is in the construction industry knows the real reason why this project has stalled. Concerned business owner you should know that this project originally included owner occupied units but they went the way of the hotel. Talk to anyone in the biz. This is never happening.
Bob December 22, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Mr. D'ambrosio, I understand you may have a lot to gain from this project but you should know it probably ain't happening.
Concerned business owner December 22, 2011 at 04:02 AM
Bob, As the housing boom burst and lending has followed suit it has been hard to sell owner occupied housing (condo's and Townhomes) however in amazement a decent amount have sold....excluding the ones that overlook the village dump. I am hopeful that the Riverwalk will achieve similar success. I assume that Tritec has already researched the ability to build Condos on the site and offer a substantial amount as Work Force Housing or affordable(not low income) housing that could offer a opportunity for young families provide a home to raise a family and shop, and play. I know Copper village had to have an allotted amount of work force housing units that were sold at a discount rate and I believe that project was successful for the developer. At the end of the day there will probably never be the perfect fit for that corner, but if everybody worked together with the same goals in mind instead of fighting each other something good could come of this eyesore. I have seen this cat and mouse game before and it hasn't worked out so well for the citizens of a great land.... (anybody want to take a guess). I’m thinking of debt ceilings and current payroll tax cuts. The end results is AA credit rating and 10% unemployment.
Patch Resident December 22, 2011 at 05:04 PM
There is clearly not enough parking in the Village already. In the summer months you can drive around for half an hour and hope someone pulls out. We presently have a parking problem with a restaurant down by the water. The building was purchased with no consideration as to how the hundreds of vehicles arriving for weddings and alike would find parking,This lack of foresight has disrupted the lives of the surrounding residents. Even now several years later there is no solution. It is a nightmare. I think there is a legitimate concern regarding the lack of parking in the Village. And until the builder can adequately address that issue the project should not go forward. It is one thing for people to come to a restaurant to eat and leave it is another to have a minimum of two cars per apartment that will remain parked on our residential streets over night and all weekend. We are talking about a minimum of 582 vehicles that will be strewn throughout the surrounding residential community, Until a viable solution can be agreed upon by the Mayor, Trustees and Residents this project should not move forward.

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