A Rochester-based developer wants to bring an $80 million mixed-use project to the Spa City and fill the city’s last large-scale developable parcel with luxury senior apartments, high-end condos and a boutique hotel with a full spa and salon.
“We are really excited about the prospect of being in Saratoga Springs — which we think is a vibrant, active economy, which is unusual for New York state — and we’re excited about bringing a great alternative to that community,” said Lou Giardino, chief development officer for Top Capital of New York, which has a purchase option on the 17-acre site located across from the city’s Amtrak station.
Eyed for the city’s Western entrance between Station Lane and Washington Street, the project would include two 90-unit apartment buildings; a 72-unit condo complex with retail on the first floor; and a five-story hotel with 120 rooms, complete with a full spa and salon. Giardino presented plans for the project, called Station Park, to the Planning Board for the first time last week, calling the senior apartments “catered living for active adults.”
“Each one of the apartments has granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, their own washer and dryer,” he told the board. “Although we offer amenities such as meals and housekeeping and valet parking and the like, you still have a sense of independent living.”
Reached Monday, Giardino would not say how much rent would cost for the apartments, but said they’d be market rate.
“It’s not what’s called ‘affordable housing,’” he said.
The condos would go for $300,000 to $400,000, “perhaps more,” he said.
As for the hotel, Giardino said good, quality hotel rooms are at a premium in Saratoga Springs, especially during the busy track season, and the location next to the train station “makes it a perfect option.”
“We can see people traveling from both New York City and Montreal — taking the train, getting off and walking across the parking lot and to our hotel,” he told Planning Board members.
Giardino said the development would include a restaurant, cocktail lounge and party room that would be available to the public. He said senior living facilities are often isolated from the community, and the best way to prevent that is by opening them up to the outside world — rather than simply encouraging residents to go off-site and “patronize the rest of the community.”
“We’ve found that by bringing the community into our residents, it’s more successful,” he said.
Planning Board member Todd Fabozzi said he supported opening up the area to the community but had ideas for making it more connected to Saratoga Springs. He said the development’s boulevard should connect to Washington Street.
“The way you’ve initially proposed it, if one was to look at it, all they would essentially see is trees and something behind the trees that’s there, but I don’t see that as an invitation,” he said.
Giardino said there was little opportunity to connect the project to Washington Street due to the land’s proximity to an overpass. He said he would work with the Planning Board and consider their suggestions during the review process, however, which he expected to continue for at least two more meetings.
He pointed out a main concern of the board — that the project connects to an affordable housing complex being proposed for adjacent land.
The project, being led by the Vecino Group and LA Group of Saratoga Springs, would include 160 affordable housing units across four buildings. The plans were also presented for review last week, which was Giardino’s first time seeing them, he said.
“We’re cooperating and collaborating with the Vecino Group, and we certainly support their project,” he said. “But the city would like a more clearly defined connection between the two projects.”
He added, “We’ll be connecting in a couple points on our mutual boundaries so that it provides a neighborhood experience between both projects.”
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