Renovation Plans For Quogue Building Will Be Aired Next Month

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Plans to renovate the nearly 150-year-old building that sits on the northeast corner of Quogue Street and Jessup Avenue in Quogue, the current home to Beth’s Cafe on the first floor and a pair of apartments on the second, will be the subject of a public hearing at next month’s Village Planning Board meeting.

But even if Hilton Smith of North Carolina, the owner of the building, ultimately secures permission from both the Quogue Village Board and Planning Board to essentially gut the building and construct a 1,335-square-foot addition to the first floor, the renovation work will not be completed until a buyer signs a contract to acquire the structure, according to building manager James Ma.

He explained this week that both the mixed-use building at 48 Quogue Street and the quarter-acre lot that it stands on are up for sale, though it has not yet been listed with a real estate agent. Mr. Ma noted that Mr. Smith most likely will seek $900,000 for the building once he puts it on the market.

Village residents can voice their opinion on plans for the building, which dates back to the 1870s, during a public hearing scheduled for Saturday, September 13, before the Quogue Planning Board. The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at Village Justice Court.

Current plans call for gutting and expanding the first floor of the building, allowing the cafe to expand its operations, while upgrading and converting the two second-floor apartments into a single, larger one. The renovations, if approved by the village, are estimated to take approximately 10 months to complete, according to chief architect Rocco Lettieri.

During their meeting on Saturday, Planning Board members discussed the proposal with Mr. Lettieri of Home Front Organization Inc., the chief architect on the project, and noted that a few documents were still missing. Members, however, did not raise any issues with the site plan itself, which also would allow the installation of a 12-space parking lot toward the rear of the property. Currently, the only available parking for the building is on Jessup Avenue or Quogue Street.

Beth D’Alessio, the owner of Beth’s Cafe, said this week that she supports any plan to renovate her building—and other older structures in the village. She also said she is not concerned that the work, if pursued at a quick place, could potentially delay the opening of her business next spring. “Any renovation to the older structures would enhance the neighborhood,” she said.

Mr. Ma said he would like to see Beth’s Cafe continue to operate from the building even after it changes hands.

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