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Developer plans downtown Saratoga Springs hotel behind Rip Van Dam

Friday, February 8, 2013
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— Local developer Bruce Levinsky and two partners are proposing a five-story, 160-room hotel off Washington Street, behind the historic Rip Van Dam building, officials said Thursday.

Levinsky owns the former Rip Van Dam hotel at 353 Broadway that was built in the 1840s. In 2007, he had the deteriorated west wing of the hotel demolished — that is the area where the new hotel is planned.

Early sketches for the project will be discussed at 6 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall during a joint meeting of the Saratoga Springs Planning Board and the city’s Design Review Commission.

“It’s a chance for both boards to have a first glance [at the hotel plans],” said Kate Maynard, the city’s principal planner.

She said the Planning Board will review site plans for the project, while the Design Review Commission will provide a historic district review of the proposal.

Levinsky proposed a “boutique hotel” at the same location about 15 years ago but abandoned those plans. After the Rip Van Dam’s old west wing was demolished, the space was used for parking.

Levinsky’s partners in the project are Presidian, a hotel management and development company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and Provident Development Group, which has an office in Saratoga Springs.

Levinsky renovated the Broadway facade of the Rip Van Dam into office space several years ago. The popular restaurant Maestro’s at the Van Dam is currently leasing the front portion and porch of the building.

Jim Quinn of Provident Development said Thursday the plan is in its “initial design stages.” Early plans are for a hotel with a full-service banquet room that would seat 250 people. The main entrance to the proposed hotel would be on Washington Street, Quinn said.

“Hopefully, we can bring it back to life,” Quinn said.

The historic Adelphi Hotel on Broadway, which was built in 1877 and is located next door to the Rip Van Dam, will also be renovated by new owners. Quinn said the idea of both historic hotels — which are owned by different parties — being returned to their former glory would be a “plus for the city.”

Quinn said a portion of the proposed new hotel would be visible from Broadway, behind the Rip Van Dam building that faces Broadway. Parking for the hotel would be off-site and valets would bring guests to and from the hotel, he said.

Levinsky, who owns the Rip Van Dam property, would only say that he, Provident and Presidian are partners in the project. He said more details would be released at Wednesday’s meeting at City Hall.

Presidian has both a hotel management company and a hotel development company and partners with such groups as Marriott International, Hilton Corp., Pacifica Hotels and Starwood Hotels.

When the west wing of the Rip Van Dam hotel was demolished, the action came after seven years of debate and controversy. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation wanted Levinsky to renovate the wing rather than demolish it. Levinsky said at the time that the old hotel wing was too far deteriorated and had become a safety concern.

One of the walls of the west wing collapsed two years before the entire wing was demolished.

 
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