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Thursday, May 26, 2016
Rentals planned for I.P. site
Howard Schwach/Herald
John Vitale, left, and his son, Dylan, showed off an artist’s rendering of the two rental unit buildings he is planning for Island Park.

Paddy McGee’s and Coyote Grill in Island Park were once two of the hottest destinations for young professionals gathering with friends for drinks and good food.

Hurricane Sandy and a crackdown on drunken driving changed all that, said John Vitale, the owner of the two popular establishments as well as a new shopping center and catering hall that are adjacent to those properties. So, instead of rebuilding the two restaurant-bars, Vitale wants instead to build two three-story buildings that would house 86 upscale rental units.

His plan calls for 60 two-bedrooms units, with rents starting at $2,600 per month, and 26 one-bedrooms renting for $1,800 and up. Vitale said he sees the apartments as a perfect fit for young professionals and empty-nesters. There would be a pool, a gym in both buildings, a community room and boat slips for residents who want to keep everything from boats to personal watercraft to kayaks on the property. There would also be a shuttle bus in the summer months to take residents to the Long Beach boardwalk.

“I envision this for people who want to live nearby the train and bus lines, who want to walk to a good restaurant or to walk to the village for shopping,” Vitale told the Herald last week, pointing out that the Long Island Rail Road station is directly across Long Beach Road from the site. “That could be a real boon to the village and its storeowners.”

He added, “I’ve been thinking about this since I built the shopping center in 2008. The housing is a better use for the land, what with the shopping center fully open, the Bridgeview [Yacht Club] in full operation as a catering hall and other businesses moving in. The rental housing will benefit Island Park more than reopening the bars.”

The waterfront community has gone through changes, Vitale explained. “Island Park’s reputation was all bars and night clubs,” he said. “That has changed as the world has changed. First of all, the new, tougher DWI rules make it harder to have a couple of drinks and then drive home. Secondly, a large number of the young people that used to populate those bars have left Long Island because they can no longer afford to live here. That drop in the younger population has really impacted bars and restaurants.”


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While this town will forever miss Paddy Mcgees, this project is the right kind of development for Island Park. Since the Hurricane, this community has been trying to recover but the obstacles are many. A combination of public and private investment is real hope for the future of Island Park. Investors always tend to follow the herd . Island Park will get its chance to attract new business and new residents . Let's hope they support projects like this.

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