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News for the Hospitality Executive

Developer Charles Wang Proposing 300 room
 Hyatt Regency on Long Island, New York

By Alan J. Wax, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Jun. 2, 2004 - Some Long Island hoteliers said yesterday they are concerned that a 300-room hotel included in Charles Wang's proposed 166-acre "Old Plainview" development could add new pressure to the region's lodging industry, still hurting from travel cuts and overbuilding.

The proposed Hyatt Regency Hotel, which would have as much as 30,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space as well as a spa, is at the heart of a proposal by Wang's development company, Northern Bay Management Group, to build a new village on what once had been a Nassau County government center. The site is located south of Old Country Road and west of Round Swamp Road in Plainview.

"We'll have a resort property in the middle of Long Island," said Allen Ostroff, principal of East Rockaway-based Hotel Dynamics, Wang's hotel consultant. "It's going to make a statement."

But Robert Sighinolfi, general manager of the 305-room Hilton Long Island in next door Melville, isn't convinced. "It's going to be a real challenge," he said, noting that in addition to the proposed 300-room Hyatt, another 500 hotel rooms are either under construction or planned for the Route 110 Corridor. "It's going to take business away from everyone else. Hopefully the market will grow enough to support it."

Last year, occupancy at hotels islandwide was 70.25 percent, flat with 2002, according to Island Publications, a Newsday subsidiary. Hotel operators noted that the region continues to feel the impact of new hotel building, curtailed post-9/11 travel and a slowdown in business travel due to the sluggish economy.

"Right now, there's too much supply and not enough demand," said Mike Johnston, general manager of the Long Island Marriott Hotel in Uniondale and president of the Long Island Hotel Lodging Association.

Wang, who bought 144 of the 166 acres he plans to develop from Nassau County in 1999 for $23 million and another 22 acres last year from a private seller, intends to seek approval from the Oyster Bay Town Board to construct about 1,000 residences, mostly for seniors, offices and new stores, along with the hotel.

Northern Bay will unveil its plans at a community meeting at 8 p.m. tonight at Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School in Plainview.

Not all hotel operators were negative, however.

"It will complement our hotel project," said Paul Amoruso, a partner in Melville Hospitality LLC, which is developing a Homewood Suites extended-stay hotel and Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Melville on a site opposite Wang's property. He said the addition of the Hyatt would create a critical mass of upscale hotel rooms that could attract meeting business from New York City corporations.

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