Locally elected leaders gathered Thursday to congratulate Patchogue and the region for the big Blue Point Brewery move and road improvements around nearby Patchogue Lake.
“We’ll be getting a world-class building everybody’s going to want to come to, lift beer, nosh on a little food and have some good times,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.
“It’s going to be awesome,” added County Executive Steve Bellone.
Those in attendance Thursday also included Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri and county Legislator Rob Calarco. The men all stressed the importance of government agencies of different levels working together to help accomplish regionally significant projects.
It was Pontieri who earlier last year encouraged Blue Point Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch to considering the current Briarcliffe building for its planned expansion. That was around the same time Braricliffe College announced it would be shutting down.
Blue Point had been considering a buildout at its current River Avenue site.
“They were showing us their plans and I told [them] you’re trying to fit 16 ounces of beer in a 12-ounce can,” Pontieri said, grateful Briarcliffe had happened to announce it closure.
“Everything in life is timing,” he said.
Blue Point made it clear Brookhaven Town Industrial Development Agency benefits would be necessary to make the move feasible; Romaine vowed to facilitate those efforts.
The IDA approved $4 million in tax incentives earlier this year.
That’s not all.
Last month, the county announced $1.6 million would be going toward improving the Holbrook Road/Lake Street corridor that runs along the future 110,000-square-foot brewery.
That money, along with funding for other capital improvement projects in the county, comes through the Jumpstart Suffolk program that was introduced two years ago.
Among other things, the project will shift to the north the location of a large, grassy median between Holbrook Road — also called the spur. The move will create parkland and increase recreation opportunities along the lake, such as fishing or jogging.
The area bordering the lake will also be opened up, further enhancing the view.
Bellone and his staffers showed with a novelty check Thursday to present to the mayor.
The presentation was held in the privately owned empty lot just north of the Bargain Bilge property, which the county will be helping the village purchase for municipal parking and a bus stop.
“None of these things happen without great leadership at the local level, and the partnerships that are created,” Bellone said. “This is a great example of something we’re all working on together that will be wonderful not only for Patchogue and the Town of Brookhaven, but the whole region.”
Calarco credited the vision for the new corridor to former legislator Brian Foley.
“It was [Foley’s] design that called for moving the lanes south and moving the median to the lakefront and creating all the green space in front of the lake,” Calarco said. “But because of costs at the time we weren’t able to do it at the county.
“Of course, back when he was developing that plan we didn’t have a parking problem in the village of Patchogue. And that is a good problem to have, and this is going to help solve it.”
He said the reconfiguration will help Patchogue firefighters reach points south of Main Street more quickly, and “help make the Blue Point Brewery project a huge success.”
The property is owned by Swezey Real Estate Development, and the deal with Anheuser-Busch won’t be made official until the IDA closes on the benefits package this coming June or July, Romaine said.
“They haven’t closed on the property as of yet with the IDA,” he said. “They are waiting for Briarcliffe to finish this semester, and as soon as that semester is over they’ll schedule a closing with the IDA. The financing will be in place, and it will be done.”
“The financing will also involve $35 million in renovations to the property,” he added.
David Kennedy, the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, also publicly thanked Blue Point and Anheuser-Busch for keeping the company in its home village.
Photos (L-R): David Kennedy, Ed Romaine, Steve Bellone, Paul Pontieri, Rob Calarco and Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce president James Skidmore.