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Building at Center of Dispute Comes Down

Business, once a hotel, is gone, making way for bank.

The much-disputed Advantage Title building is gone, surrounded by rubble and occupied, for the moment, only by workers and equipment clearing the lot.

Where once a grand hotel, a department store and later a business office stood, the site was the focus of opposition to its owner's decision to sell the property to make way for a new TD Bank.

Neighbors objected to traffic a bank could bring, and preservations cited the history of well-known and distinctive building that marked the gateway to Huntingon Village.

After several months of quiet, scaffolding went up around the building, on the northeast corner of New York Avenue and Fairview Street, in late September.

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In October, Joseph Willen, whose Advantage Group operated in the building, told Patch his company had moved to Melville. "I am certain TD will be a wonderful addition to Huntington and will prove to be a win-win for both the residential and business communities. I am also looking forward to continuing to grow the Advantage Group in Huntington Township as we celebrate our 25 year anniversary in December," Willen said.

Jim December 10, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I didn't realize paradise was a crumbling, in desperate disrepair 100 year old building that's a hazard and a blight.
VillageJenny December 10, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Jim, I completely disagree with you. I think it's wonderful that a former resident like Linda Otta still cares enough about her Huntington hometown to read and comment on our Patch. Who appointed you mayor, judge and jury? I was born and raised in NYC, still love that city, care about what happens there, read and comment about it all the time. Linda, please keep reading and posting! Most of us in Huntington ARE very interested in what you think.
Janet December 10, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Mr. Willen must be kidding if he thinks it will be a win-win situation. How can having a new ultra modern building amongst historic buildings, across the street from one of oldest buildings in Huntington. It may have been in disrepair but could have been repaired and kept the charm and character to the neighborhood... To BK13 The Town Board is purposely ruining downtown Huntington by not being brave enough to stand up for the character of the Town and to respect the voices of the people and TAX payers of the town... Maybe there is some hope that if TD bank wants to garner patronage of it's bank they modify their design to fit in the neighborhood. I won't be holding my breath...
BK13 December 10, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Well I think the first thing is saving the town financially. They are in a tough spot, and revenue is revenue. As long as they aren't going to build some monstrosity there it will have to be what it is. And yes, hopefully TD Bank will be kind to the neighborhood.
Lorraine Kelley December 11, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Jim - there will NEVER be more than 8 people working at T.D, Bank at any one time. The building that was torn down had 80 people working there. So - a LOSS of 72 jobs for the community.
Jeffrey J Stark December 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I have been active in politics in the Town for a long time. I attempted to reason with some of our elected officials about the destruction of this building to no avail. Our elected officials sometimes turn a blind eye to fact that they are gatekeepers to the historic nature of this beautiful town I call home. To have a modern structure, like TD bank, be at one of the gateways to this historic village is really in contrast to the historic nature of this town. Our elected officials seem to forget this from time to time. Several years ago they took parkland from Hecksher to allow Hecksher museum to expand. Jeffrey J. Stark
Janet December 11, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Well said Jeffrey J Stark...thank you.. At least Hecksher kept the character of the building....
Cynthia A Scudieri December 11, 2012 at 04:55 PM
This is in response to Jim's comment about the building being in disrepair and a blight....the Town of Huntington, through lack of inspection of the building in renewing proper permits, ALLOWED this historic building to BECOME in a state of disrepair.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I disagree Lorraine Kelley - the building was vacant. ZERO = 0 occupants. So even if there are 8 people in the bank, you're up 8 jobs at that point. The only tenant of the building moved to Melville in October, so there were -80 jobs since then. Not only that, the revenues NEW construction would bring in via taxes is higher than the old building that was there.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Not only that, the only business that WAS there moved, but still operates in the TOH. So the town reaps benefits of not only that busines operating in the township, but now ANOTHER business operating in the town.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Not really - new construction is taxed at a higher rate than an old, "historic" building. The VALUE of the property, along with the building size determines the rate, not just the size. So if the property were valued at an old rate (since the building was there for so long) at say $500k, if it sold for $3mm, then the tax would be assesed at a property vlaue of $3mm.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:13 PM
No Cynthia, it's not the Town's responsibility to maintain a privately owned property it's the property owner's responsibility. If this were the case, then they'd be responsible for maintenance on everybody's home in the town.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Exactly John - people are so against it, yet will use it if convenient. Then they forget how upset they were in the first place.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Why don't you learn to spell his name correctly before you criticize the man. P-E-T-R-O-N-E
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Why don't you learn to spell his name correctly before you criticize the man. P-E-T-R-O-N-E
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Not really, VillageJenny. She should be concerned with the politics and politicians where she currently resides, not in another town where she no longer pays taxes - which in effect pay those salaries. She is no longer paying anything towards the how the TOH runs, so she should keep her mouth shut when it comes to TOH matters. She has a history of uninformed, unintelligent posts concerning the TOH and only knows what she reads here because she doesn't live in the town any longer.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Wow - a little overboard there, buddy? "zone of devastation"? It's not a bombed out city in Afghanistan - it's a construction site on a corner in the TOH. Raping the place? They're raping the place - using the word like that is a disservice to all the women who suffer the horrors of RAPE. Looting the village? It adds tax revenues. But you'd be one that would want it turned down and then b!tch and complain when you're taxes increase because they can't add tax revenues in some other manner. So the board members get knocked for being democrats that "turns the place into a free-fire zone for capitalism gone amok" - yet if they were republican, I am willing to bet you'd applaud them for their "vision to increase tax revenues for the town while promoting capitalism at its finest." SMH
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I think the One Stop across the street is not considered a historic building...
Jim December 11, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Well said again, BK13.
BK13 December 11, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I like this Jim guy, he seems reasonable!
VillageJenny December 11, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Jim, Obviously, Janet meant the historic Conklin House, diagonally across NY Avenue from the old hotel site. Take some time to think before you post.
VillageJenny December 11, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Jim, So now you're a spelling expert too. Why don't you check paragraph 3 of your 1:27PM, Tuesday, December 11, 2012 post below. It should be "your" taxes, not "you're" taxes.
VillageJenny December 11, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Jim, Why can't Linda Otta be concerned about politics and events in both her current and former hometowns? Maybe you can't walk and chew gum at the same time, but most of us can. And please stop insisting that she "keep her mouth shut". She has as much right to post comments here as you do.
VillageJenny December 11, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Really, BK13? I'd like to talk to you about a bridge I have for sale............
Jim December 11, 2012 at 10:13 PM
VillageJenny - that's a grammar issue, not a spelling issue you dimwit.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 10:16 PM
VillageJenny - I was thinking. Is the one stop not across the street? But that's right across the street and is not a "historic" building. So there is NO need to keep every single old (which not everyone deems "historic) building standing. That's no way to progress. You can't always live in the past.
Jim December 11, 2012 at 10:22 PM
VillageJenny - why, because I don't agree this building should be left standing? Progess needs to be made and you don't move forward by leaving things as they are just because of history. It's a building. Who of historic significance lived, worked, was born, died, etc. there? Progress cannot be made from the status quo. By keeping that building there "just because" didn't make sense. You can make all the restorations you want, but there are things that can't be seen that can come back to cause problems later. Which means more money to fix. But it's so easy for you to say to the owner "renovate and keep the building there" because it's not your money going to renovate. And then fix more problems down the road when they come up. It's always easier to dictate to someone HOW they should do something when it's not your money being spent.
VillageJenny December 11, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Jim, I knew it was a grammar issus. I have NYS certification as an English teacher. Just didn't want to confuse you even more than you are. Enough of the name-calling, please!
Janet December 11, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Progress can be made and retain the charm of our Historic Town. Get the key word there HISTORIC. That is why people come to Huntington...for it's charm and character and history. I would be less upset with TD (Tear Down) bank if they presented a building that maintained the architectural integrity of our town. Please let's stop the name calling it's not necessary.
Adrienne Doherty March 22, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Well said Richard.

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