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Plans move ahead for hotel in Congress Plaza

Design Review panel is next step

Sunday, May 5, 2013
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— Plans are going forward for a new six-story, 145-room hotel in Congress Plaza, the large commercial development on West Congress Street.

The hotel, which will include a new restaurant, recently received site plan approval from the Saratoga Springs Planning Board. It will be going up on the site of the now-empty former Grand Union supermarket, which most recently housed Broadway Joe’s Dinner and a Movie.

The Congress Plaza hotel will be yet another addition to a Saratoga Springs hospitality scene that already includes hundreds of hotel rooms, with several new hotels arriving in recent years, and with more accommodations on the drawing boards.

Though the Planning Board has given the hotel final site plan approval, the plans are still subject to review by the city’s Design Review Commission, which will need to approve its architectural design. It’s on the commission’s May 15 agenda.

As the project goes forward, several existing businesses, including The Outer Zone laser tag arena, are going to be displaced, because that part of the plaza will be demolished. Outer Zone management announced on Facebook that it will be closing as of May 12, though it hopes to find another location.

The hotel is being developed by DCG Development Co. of Clifton Park, which owns the plaza that it built in the early 1980s.

DCG Vice President Donald C. MacElroy said no chain affiliation for the hotel has been announced. He said DCG plans to start demolition as soon as the Design Review Commission gives its approval.

“Obviously, the goal will be to be open in time for next year’s summer season,” MacElroy said.

During several review sessions since the plans were first submitted last fall, city principal planner Kate Maynard said the scope of the project was reduced, with a two-story parking garage that would have been built along Congress Street removed from the plans. The existing CVS Pharmacy and the southern half of the existing plaza will remain.

Street connections

The developer will also be re-establishing vehicle and pedestrian connections from West Congress Street through to South Franklin and South Federal streets. Those street-grid connections were severed when the plaza was first constructed, Maynard said.

The site, while considered to be within the downtown, sits on the border between the city’s commercial corridor and the residential neighborhoods on the city’s West Side. Before demolition for urban renewal in the 1960s, it had been known for its bars and brothels.

The developer and the city will also be looking at whether crosswalks are needed because the project will increase pedestrian traffic, with people walking to the Price Chopper supermarket and new movie theater complex being built several blocks away.

 
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