Developers last week cleared the lot slated for the construction of a Hilton Garden Inn on the campus of Stony Brook University.
Construction of the hotel on the 3.7-acre area began July 26. Community groups and students had to build a hotel on that site, located across from the university's parking garage near the main campus entrance.
A lawsuit brought by the Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy delayed the construction, but in October, a judge which prevented the removal of trees from the site.
Robert J. Frey, who owns the development company handling construction, and attorney George Locker, who represented the Stony Brook Environmental Conservancy in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment.
University spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said in a statement Wednesday that the developer was required to clear a section of land between the hotel site to access the point of origin for utilities on Nicolls Road. However, she said, a landscaped barrier called a berm will be placed along that area, and the remaining vegetation along Nicolls Road will be preserved as no-clear, no-build zones.
"The university worked with the developer to minimize impact on environmental vistas, and a buffer will remain between Nicolls Road and the hotel construction parcel," Sheprow said.
The hotel is expected to open in the fall of 2012. The five-story building will be LEED-certified and contain 135 guest rooms along with conference space, an indoor pool, and other amenities.
Sheprow said the university hosts more than half a million guests each year at its various conferences, athletic contests, and other events, and the hotel will be convenient for those guests as well as those visiting Stony Brook University Medical Center.