More than a year after the owner of the Parker Inn filed for bankruptcy protection, the downtown Schenectady boutique hotel is taking its business model in a new direction, starting with the transformation of most of its rooms into corporate apartments.
Renovations began Monday to turn 17 of the Parker Inn’s 23 rooms into ExecuStay corporate apartments, a project that gives the financially beleaguered hotel an affiliation with a national brand and a new partner.
The new rooms will be operated by Albany Corporate Housing LLC, part of Latham-based Prime Companies. A group of commonly owned real estate companies, Prime Companies is investing more than $300,000 to furnish the rooms with kitchens, new flooring and appliances.
“Prior to this, the fact that we did not have a national brand and national reservation system really hurt us, particularly when Hampton Inn came in the picture,” said Parker Inn owner Chris Myers.
The hotel at 434 State St. was a victim of the recession, he said. Just before company owner Parker Building LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2011, it was suffering from cash flow problems and mounting tax debt and facing foreclosure proceedings.
Parker Building paid nearly $200,000 to the city of Schenectady a few months ago, Myers said, moving forward with its reorganization plan by bringing its back taxes up to date. It expects to exit bankruptcy within 30 days.
There are already more than 50 Oakwood ExecuStay corporate apartments in the Capital Region, which Albany Corporate Housing has exclusive rights to offer in the area. Oakwood recently purchased ExecuStay from Marriott Hotels, but guests can still earn Marriott Rewards points for their room stays.
The remaining six hotel rooms at the Parker Inn will also get some upgrades, and will continue to be available for short-term rentals. The restaurant and bar on the first floor will remain open.
Myers said traveling professionals prefer corporate apartments to leasing an apartment or an extended hotel stay because they come furnished and offer a variety of services.
“If you’re coming to town for two or three months, it just doesn’t make sense to buy or rent furniture to put in an apartment,” he said. “We have laundry facilities, a YMCA right across the street, and all the restaurants and shops downtown.”
The nearby town of Glenville is seeing increased corporate housing offerings as well. Socha Management plans a three-story building on Route 50 that will offer corporate apartments, retail and office space.
Prime Properties executive Dean Devito said in a news release that there has been increasing demand for these types of apartments due to the recent expansions at General Electric and other tech growth in the region.
“ExecuStay is the leader in this field and we are pleased to bring this upscale corporate brand to downtown Schenectady,” he said.
The renovations will be a “great addition” to downtown, said Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen. “Extended stays are becoming more popular with people coming in on work assignments,” he said. “And this gives them a national network to tie into.”
Three rooms have been converted so far, with guests already checked in. Myers picked up on the demand last year when he had two GE employees living out of the Parker Inn’s regular hotel rooms for a full year.
Parker Building has a five-year lease with Albany Corporate Housing LLC to operate the rooms that includes two five-year renewal options.
When it filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition last year, it listed $953,000 in assets and was generating a monthly income of $9,200 but expenses of $26,000.
The building was recently reassessed at $800,000, a dramatic fall from its prior $1.95 million assessment.