Democrat File Photo
THE INTERIOR OF 462 Broadway, owned by Tommy Ting. With the grant, the developer hopes to turn this space into a café modeled after the famous Bitter End in New York City's Greenwich Village.
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO “God works wonders!”
That’s how Tommy Ting reacted to the news Wednesday that his Monticello project will get $1.75 million from the state’s Restore NY grant program.
It’s not the $2.5 million the village initially applied for, but Ting was ecstatic nonetheless.
“There were so many hurdles to overcome,” the developer and owner of 426 Broadway remarked. “This is a turning point in the economic revitalization of downtown Broadway.”
Broadway is a mess right now, thanks to ongoing road construction, but Ting predicted his $3.5 million, 16,600-square-foot entertainment complex will help turn it from “a slum to paradise.”
“We call this smart growth,” he explained, thanking Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, NYS Senator John Bonacic, County Legislature Chair Jonathan Rouis, Mayor Gordon Jenkins, the village board and his managing partner for their assistance.
Gunther was only too happy to help.
“The Village of Monticello has been struggling with difficult economic conditions for many years,” she said. “This project by Mr. Ting involves the rehabilitation of six existing buildings and the construction of one new facility on Broadway. This will create a big impact on the village and will attract other businesses to locate to the village.”
In fact, Ting hopes to attract hundreds of people at a time, saying his Bitter End-inspired café (the Greenwich Village haunt’s owner, Paul Colby, is a partner in Ting’s efforts) will seat 400-600, with rentable space for large events like weddings.
“I think it’s great,” observed Mayor Jenkins. “I always believed in his project.”
“It’s good news for Monticello and Sullivan County,” agreed the village’s planner, Glenn Gidaly of Barton and Loguidice, even though he had recommended the board choose other projects for the grant application earlier this year.
“This is very good news for Monticello,” remarked Trustee Carmen Rue, who put her full support behind Ting’s efforts, writing letters to state officials, even taking his application up to Albany.
“I think the village is ecstatic this much money will be poured into the village,” remarked Village Manager Ray Nargizian. “It’s just one more positive thing happening so we can turn this village around.”
He mentioned that one of the Restore NY grant hopefuls, United Realty which controversially wasn’t included in the application, despite Gidaly’s recommendation will move ahead anyway with its $2 million-plus plans to renovate and reconstruct buildings surrounding and including the Rialto Theatre.
“Hopefully this is just the beginning,” said Trustee Scott Schoonmaker, acknowledging that the “biggest challenge is getting people to come here” once these places are open.
Ting would not commit to a particular opening date, saying there’s still permits and paperwork to deal with from the village, but Senator Bonacic doesn’t think attracting people will be an obstacle.
“Between the anticipated Holiday Mountain recreation center, the new emergency room at the hospital, and the Broadway renovations, along with this new state funding, the state has worked to create a state/local/private sector partnership; all aimed at creating economic vitality in Monticello and Thompson,” Bonacic said.
“It’s going to draw people in,” promised Jenkins. “He [Ting] is ready to move forward, and it’s going to happen.”