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Visions For Vacancies: La Grange Inn

West Islip Patch asks readers what new business they would like to see fill the empty catering hall on Montauk Highway.

The holds great meaning to many longtime West Islip residents. But the venerable catering hall now sits empty, as it has for much of the time over the past four years.

In the first of a continuing series “Visions for Vacancies” West Islip Patch will feature vacant storefronts and seek input from readers as to the type of business they would like to see fill the empty location.

Since a community meeting four years ago in which a Walgreens drug store and a refurbished La Grange was proposed for the site, there has been little action at the property with one notable exception.

In 2010, a trio of business partners reopened La Grange for a short time seeking to make a go of it as a catering facility. While the community was excited by the prospect of La Grange again being an active business and a place where local groups could hold fundraisers and residents could host a family party, those good feelings were short lived.

By the end of 2010 the catering hall was again closed.

Today, ringed by a chain link fence, La Grange sits quiet and many in the community wonder what the future holds for the property.

In the comments section below, let West Islip Patch know what your vision is for this vacancy.

Oquenuts February 01, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Wow, this really has a lot of space! How about some nice offices: WI patch headquarters, a realtor, PAWS, WI Summit, and a Smartboard storage facility (I hear there will be some extras floating around).
Jason C. Rauch February 01, 2012 at 02:06 AM
a Stekhouse like Blackstones would cut it!
Greg Sleter February 01, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Hi everyone. Some great suggestions so far. I love Irene's idea about the CIA. We could have one heck of a Patch reader party there! Keep the ideas coming! Thanks.
Arleen February 01, 2012 at 12:06 PM
I like the idea of the CIA or a restaurant. Not thrilled with the business office ideas. Is there enough parking for a school?
ELLA February 01, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Good idea!
Damian Buscemi February 01, 2012 at 04:18 PM
No offices needed there..We have too many empty offices already. Panchos Cantina was looking in the area a few years back.... Maybe someone should call Glen..... his main restaurant is on long beach rd in Island Park. No preschool, we r closing schools here already....The neighborhood looks terrible with all the empty storefronts and the lots that r vacant from the two burnt down florist.. and the lot next to T D bank...... Lets get some companies interested in our town again
Maggy February 01, 2012 at 05:44 PM
When a "thought seed" is planted it most often takes root. Glad to see this thought has finally rooted - it's a perfect location for LICIA. Another "thought seed" - why not convert the old Dzus Fastener factory into our own West Islip Train Station?
Chris Hillier February 01, 2012 at 07:24 PM
That space would be ideal for a park with basketball courts,swings, and a skate/bike park. We need to get children back outside and away from all those video games and social networks!!!!! lets do this is for all of our children and the many more to come!!!
Maureen February 01, 2012 at 07:36 PM
That's a wonderful idea! How about some kind of center where kids could go in all kinds of weather to hang out instead of being bored walking around town with nothing to do?
Chris Hillier February 01, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Yes if part of the structure must stay intact then you can make it a rec center of some type so there could be indoor activities. I would love indoor basketball courts as well but thats just me!!!
Marianne Bowden February 01, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Good luck with that. West Islip is the home of NIMBY. Just ask Walgreens and 7-11. I think a skate park is a great idea. I heard awhile ago they were looking into building one at Casamento. I think this town needs a good Italian Bakery but that spot is too big.
Damian Buscemi February 01, 2012 at 09:31 PM
there are plenty vacant stores around for the bakery... we do need an italian bakery.....no thanks to having a skate park at the restaurant location... it all must remain intact...We need to bring in tax money to our town.
Emma Peel February 02, 2012 at 02:03 AM
La Grange Inn is part of West Islip's history and should remain intact. The Culinary Institute of America Campus suggestion does sound like a good idea. Who should make the call to someone at the Culinary Institute to run this idea by them to see if they're interested? The West Islip Chamber of Commerce? Islip Town Hall?
Thomas February 02, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Sorry for Being Naive, Marianne what is "NIMBY"
Marianne Bowden February 02, 2012 at 02:37 PM
It means Not In My Back Yard. West Islip never seems to welcome new big business here and because of this we have no commercial business to offset the property taxes we pay. Kind of a double edge sword.
Troy February 02, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I had the culinary idea for a few years now and shared this possibility with many people and they also thoug ht it was a great idea. To keep the West Islip heritage at La Grainge a panel must present this to the town of Islip. If that doesn't happen, it would just be an academic idea.ambece
Troy February 02, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Troy continued... Plans need to drawn up.Historical society will get involved. The Pace lot could be used for expansion or horticulture which Cornell cooperative extension can provide input. The abandoned home across from the library csn be used as offices, enrollment eyc
Jack Latch February 02, 2012 at 08:30 PM
um......isn't La Grange privately owned?......as well as the "abandoned" home across from the library
Emma Peel February 03, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Is Rick Olivieri still a co-owner under the La Grange Inn Corporation? Also, is Tom Barraga still the contact person through the Suffolk County Legislature? Is Joe DeCarlo still the head of the West Islip Association regarding this topic? It looks like the suggestion of the Culinary Institute of America came up on the Task Force's List of suggestions back in 2008 as well...not sure how far this suggestion was investigated back then though.
Rich C February 03, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Any business that will pay taxes...
Damian Buscemi February 03, 2012 at 02:10 PM
u got it rich
Carol Ann Paris February 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I love Irene's idea The Culinary Institute of America. They have a kitchen already there and the food would be fancy chef like plates without the high cost. We have one upstate and it's great. Terrific idea Irene!!!
JD February 07, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I commented before, We should make it a sports complex, outdoor deck hockey, ice skating rink. West islip & St Johns has an ice hockey team. ( The Rinx ice time is usally 6am or midnight because of too many teams wanting Ice time) Many kids sign up at the West Babylon Youth Conference center and play deck hockey from November to March, keep the $$ in West Islip. Having a comples would give the West islip kids a place to go and have fun. As someone commented before the building can be converted to indoor basketball, volleyball,concessions, etc. I'm sure we could think of more activities for West islip!
John W April 26, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I think it's time to let go of the past. The existing building barely resembles the original, with all of the extensions. What's so great about it that it has to be preserved? A day care center? a sports complex? these are pipe dreams that ignore the realities of business. The buildings that retailers put up today (like Walgreens) are nicely done and nicely landscaped, just look at TD Bank. This is private property and whoever the owner is should be able to do with it what they want. JW
Emma Peel April 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I was born and raised in West Islip and take pride in the history of our town. La Grange Inn is one of its jewels. Preservation of historical buildings and places teaches our next generation about our rich past. If La Grange Inn can be used as a culinary school campus, it can serve two purposes in keeping historical preservation as well as in making use of the building and site. I hope the owner takes this into consideration. Is there any new information on the status of La Grange Inn?
Lisa Brenner September 03, 2012 at 01:39 AM
What about a holistic center with a book store, coffee shop etc. Something like the New York Open center. Offering different classes that heal the body, mind and spirit. Come and learn Yoga, Life Coaching, Visioning, meditation and more!
Emma Peel September 03, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Good idea regarding a coffee shop. Another thought...how about a Panera Bread? Those establishments are always packed with people. It would draw in the coffee and breakfast crowds, some on their way to Babylon train station, as well as cater to lunch and dinner patrons.
Diane Fontana October 09, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Bed and Breakfast
Kathleen Rotondo October 10, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I think Irene has a great idea, who would have to be contacted to get this idea off the ground? Someone should find out.
Mark Mastroianni February 28, 2013 at 02:43 PM
McDonald's should check out this property and consider it for restoration. They did an amazing job in New Hyde Park with the restoration of the Denton House on Jericho Turnpike. It is a historic landmark and is now a flagship McDonald's restaurant. It would be great to see the building restored to its original stature. MGM

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