Today’s news:

Capri-Whitestone Motel to MD group

In what is a grab for a key piece of Bronx real estate with a somewhat dubious reputation, a Maryland-based hotel company purchased the Capri-Whitestone Motel last week.

Capri-Whitestone Motel, located in Ferry Point in the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge at 555 Hutchinson River Parkway, was sold to Baywood Hotels for $11.675 million. The motel, built in the early 1960s has 33,000 square feet with more than 90 feet of frontage and 95 rooms. It also has a bar and grill.

Despite the amenities, some residents are concerned that a big box store could come to the area, because of wide open M-1 zoning, and especially in light of the newly opened Home Depot at Brush Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard and the soon to open Pepsi Bottling plant on Brush Avenue just south of Rohr Place.

However, Baywood Hotels is a reputable company that operates hotels under monikers like Marriot, Hilton Garden Inn and Holdiay Inn, most believe the sale will bring about positive change.

“When I spoke two months ago with the former owner of the motel, Leo Wagner, he said that he was speaking with the company that purchased it,” said Dotti Poggi, of the Ferry Point Community Advocates. “It seems like Baywood Hotels is a good, reputable company, but my only concern is this is their first hotel in New York.”

Baywood Hotels operates in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., Florida, and Texas, but this is there first foray into any motel or hotel in New York City or State.

“From talking with the previous owner, it appears that the new company is going to enlarge the hotel; it sits on a large piece of property,” Poggi explained. “Right now it is zoned M-1, so almost anything could go there.”

If converted from a short stay motel, where $40 buys a four-hour stay and “fantasy rooms” come complete with Jacuzzis, to a full-scale hotel, with construction on the Ferry Point Golf Course set to re-commence, residents hope the motel could attract a more desirable clientele.

“At this point, anything would be better than the Capri-Whitestone,” said JoAnn Sohmers, president of the Ferry Point Civic Association. “Hopefully, the new company will put in a respectable hotel. It is in a prime location – right next to the Whitestone Bridge.”

Calls placed to Baywood Hotels were not returned as off press time.

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