Hotel possible in plan for Saratoga Springs plaza

The Clifton Park company that redeveloped the Clifton Park Center mall is setting its sights on the

The Clifton Park company that redeveloped the Clifton Park Center mall is setting its sights on the Congress Plaza off Congress Street in Saratoga Springs.

DCG Development Co., owned by businessman Donald C. Greene, brought early plans for a six-story hotel or mixed-use commercial/apartment building to the city Planning Board this week.

The former Grand Union market in the plaza, once the site of Broadway Joe’s movie and dinner theater, would be demolished, according to the proposal.

It would be replaced by a high-rise hotel or residential building along Congress Street with a two-level parking garage behind it, according to the early “sketch” plans presented to the city.

Late last year a 104-room, five-story Hilton Garden Inn, complete with a banquet and conference center and an upscale Mazzone Hospitality restaurant, opened at Clifton Park Center off Northway Exit 9 in Clifton Park.

At the same time, a 10-screen, state-of-the-art Regal theater opened in the mall, which DCG Development has been modernizing and enhancing the past few years.

“We are very encouraged,” said Donald MacElroy, DCG’s vice president, about occupancy rates at the hotel since it opened in December.

He said now that DCG has the Clifton Park Center “under control” and flourishing, the company is focusing its attention on the Congress Plaza, which the company also owns.

The Congress Plaza includes a liquor store, dry cleaner, a Hallmark card shop and a laundry, among other small shops and stores. A Friendly’s restaurant there closed earlier this year.

MacElroy said a six-story hotel at the plaza is “one possibility.” He said whatever is done there will be “some form of residential.”

DCG has hired local architects Thomas Frost and Matthew Hurff to develop the plan. MacElroy said DCG wants the development to follow the “new urbanism” trend that redevelops outmoded areas of a city’s downtown.

“We want to move the process forward as quickly as we can,” he said.

Kate Maynard, the city’s principal planner, said DCG Development had presented redevelopment plans for the plaza two years ago. The new plan does not include the rest of the plaza, just the old Grand Union Building and the area along Congress Street west of the CVS Drug Store.

“There was a lot of discussion about the history of the site,” she said about Wednesday’s Planning Board meeting.

Maynard said the plaza property was one of the last urban renewal projects undertaken in Saratoga Springs in the 1970s.

At one time, South Federal Street came all the way through to Congress Street and Ash Street also extended into the downtown area.

She said one of the ideas to improve the site would be to re-establish those through streets as well as create foot and bike paths through the area.

She said the discussion at the meeting was conceptual and preliminary. DCG has not yet presented the city with a full application, and no action was taken by the board on the proposal.

Maynard said there was some concern voiced about a two-level parking deck being proposed behind the hotel or apartment building. She said this parking garage would be near the historic Gideon Putnam Burial Ground on South Franklin Street.

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