Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs’ south end getting a face-lift

The city’s southern gateway appears to be sprucing up, one property at a time.

The city’s southern gateway appears to be sprucing up, one property at a time.

Three unoccupied South Broadway businesses may get face-lifts and occupants in the coming months, and one existing company plans to expand:

u A Papa John’s pizza franchise is being proposed for the former Saratoga Pizza House.

u Saratoga Honda plans to nearly triple its building space and add more parking outside.

u Developers are seeking to rezone the former Weathervane seafood restaurant property to build a hotel there.

u One final signature is needed before a former car dealership can be renovated into the future home of the Saratoga County Mental Health Department.

Officials are seeing results after instituting the Gateway Action Program of Saratoga last year to come up with ideas to fix up the South Broadway entrance to the city on Route 9 and fill empty buildings.

In recent years, public projects such as sidewalks and streetlights have made the northern portion of South Broadway more attractive.

“There’s been a lot of eyes on the corridor overall,” said Kate Maynard, the city’s principal planner.

And each new private project allows the city to shape what officials want the area to look like, she said. “There’s definitely a noted change with projects like this coming forward,” she said. “Ideally it’s a continued catalyst.”

honda dealer expansion

Saratoga Honda at 3402 S. Broadway is purchasing a 5.8-acre parcel from neighbor Four Winds Hospital and aims to nearly triple the size of its building, adding new space in the showroom, sales department and service center, according to plans filed with the city’s Planning Department.

The city Planning Board last week approved the Honda dealership’s request for its expansion to the south, which would boost the building’s size from about 14,000 square feet to about 40,000 square feet. The new parcel also would give Saratoga Honda more room for parking vehicles for sale and storage, Maynard said.

Saratoga Honda awaits final city approval on the lot line adjustment with Four Winds and is expected to get it soon, Maynard said. As part of the plan, Four Winds will relocate one of its parking lots, which was on the parcel it sold to Saratoga Honda.

The building addition will feature more of an “earth-tone palette” than the brighter colors typically seen on Honda dealerships, Maynard said, a change the company made at city officials’ request to blend in better with the surrounding area.

The dealership is directly across from Saratoga Spa State Park.

“The location is very important to the city,” she said.

Another South Broadway property, the former Saratoga Pizza House and Alexandra’s Ice Cream, may become a Papa John’s franchise.

Builder Stephen Ethier bought the property at 146 S. Broadway in a foreclosure sale and plans to lease it to Russ Faden, a Saratoga Springs police officer who owns several local Subway stores, said Bradley Birge, the city’s planning and economic development director.

The owner wants to replace the building’s distinctive red metal roof with black asphalt shingles, Birge said. The building was originally a Dairy Queen in the 1970s and 1980s and the red roof is left over from that era.

rezoning eyed

Farther south toward the Malta town line, developers who plan to build an extended-stay hotel on the former Weathervane restaurant site at 3368 S. Broadway are asking the city to rezone its five acres from an office-medical business district zone to tourist-related business district designation.

The City Council is expected to take up that issue at its meeting tonight and could vote to refer the rezoning plan to the Saratoga County Planning Board, one of the final steps needed. The city Planning Board and Design Review Commission have already recommended the zoning change.

Turf Hotels of Latham proposes a four-story, 109-room extended-stay Homewood Suites.

The chairman of the Planning Board is expected to sign final plans soon for the former Topper Buick and Pontiac dealership at 135 S. Broadway to be converted into the home of the Saratoga County Mental Health Department, combining the county’s mental health clinic, alcohol and substance abuse treatment program, and day treatment program, which are now in separate locations in and around Saratoga Springs.

“They’ve already done some initial demolition on the structure” while waiting for the final go-ahead to start the site work, Maynard said.

Frank Parillo owns the property, and interior renovation work is being done by Bonacio Construction of Saratoga Springs.

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