By CHRIS EBERHART
There could be a new hotel coming to Tuckahoe.
Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond, a Republican, said there are “serious talks” about building a hotel on the old quarry site on Marbledale Road next to Phil Denning and Sons at 125 Marbledale Road. He believes there will be movement in the coming months.
“At this point, nothing is imminent, but I believe they’re close enough to where I expect an application will be sent to our Building Department for review in the next few months,” Ecklond said.
Because there’s been no official application yet, details about the hotel remain grainy. But Village Trustee Steven Alfasi, a Republican, said the hotel is a “recognizable and class-A hotel chain” and is “highly regarded.”
According to Ecklond, the hotel would be accompanied by a restaurant.
Trustees Stephen Quigley, a Democrat, and Alfasi have expressed support for a village hotel, but stressed there needs to be preparation work such as traffic studies and environmental studies prior to one being built.
“I’m generally in favor of a village hotel,” Quigley said. “It’s something we need in the area. The closest hotels in the area are in Yonkers and White Plains. My only concern is the increase in traffic. The area is already congested with people coming in and out, so we would need to do studies to see what the traffic pattern would be.”
Alfasi, who supported the idea of building a hotel when questioned during his campaign for a trustee seat earlier this year, said a hotel would increase tax revenue for the village and pedestrian traffic to the village’s stores.
“A new hotel would bring in [property tax] revenue and added value for the property [which is currently an empty space] along with revenue from the hotel tax [that the village is in the process of implementing],” Alfasi said. “And it will help our economy locally by bringing in added feet that will be going to our stores, buying a latte, using our services…I think it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Although a hotel is still officially only speculation, that hasn’t stopped the village board from moving forward. At the board’s April 28 meeting, a resolution was adopted to begin the process necessary to implement the hotel occupancy tax.
The potential tax would impose a 3 percent charge on hotel occupants on top of the 3 percent county hotel tax already in place.
In order to install a hotel tax, a municipality must receive authorization from the state, which has become a roadblock in recent years because of the governor and senate’s reluctance to implement a new tax, according to state Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat who represents Tuckahoe.
“We’re aware Tuckahoe is applying for this hotel tax, and I support the request,” Latimer said. “My argument is this revenue will save increases in property tax, which is the killer tax. And there’s no impact on occupancy.”
Latimer said he’s now carrying hotel occupancy tax requests for the Village of Mamaroneck, Yonkers, North Castle, Tuckahoe and Harrison, which has been unsuccessful in implementing the hotel tax since 2004.
“While I’m not uniquely optimistic about it passing, we’ll try very hard to get it through,” Latimer said.
Currently, there are four local municipalities that have already implemented the hotel tax—White Plains, New Rochelle, the City of Rye and Rye Brook.
In New Rochelle, which has two hotels, the hotel occupancy tax generated $272,000 in 2011, $290,000 in 2012 and $280,000 in 2013 in tax revenue to the city.
White Plains, which has seven hotels already built with an eighth in the works, generated nearly $1 million worth of revenue in each of the past three years: $979,833 in 2011, $986,735 in 2012 and $997,932 in 2013.
Carol Endres, White Plains deputy commissioner of finance, said the hotel occupancy tax is something she recommends municipalities pursue.
“As you can see, [the hotel tax] generates a nice revenue for us,” Endres said. “After the eighth hotel is built, we’ll be bringing in over a million dollars in revenue from our hotels. That’s a big shot in the arm.”