SCHENECTADY — One of the most distinctive buildings in downtown Schenectady is getting a new owner and perhaps a new shot at success.
Co-owner Darshan Patel said Friday he was in the final stages of selling the slender, eight-story building at 434 State St. that for nearly 20 years has been the Parker Inn.
“We are closing on it hopefully today,” he said. “Everything is signed.”
Patel declined to identify the buyer except as a New Jersey investor who plans to put money into upgrades and reopen for business in what is hoped to be a resurgent post-COVID downtown.
It’s a path Patel had wanted to follow but couldn’t amid the pandemic, which limited the business and leisure travel that hotels rely on for revenue.
“I am sad because it’s a very nice hotel and I didn’t get a chance,” Patel said. “I definitely see a lot of potential for growth in the downtown market.”
Back in the day, the structure was sometimes known as the Needle Building because it is 110 feet tall — the tallest building in the city when constructed in 1900 — but only 24 feet wide.
It opened as the Parker Inn in October 2002, but has met with limited success in the nearly 20 years since. The developer who converted the building, Chris Myers, opened it when downtown Schenectady was a ragged strip at least a decade away from anything that could be called substantial revitalization. The hotel suffered in the post-9/11 slowdown of the early 2000s and in the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
Occupancy rates were consistently low.
The original overhaul into a 23-room boutique hotel received a $1 million grant from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority and then needed two loans from Metroplex to keep.
A partial conversion to extended-stay executive apartments apparently failed to turn the operation around. Myers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and Metroplex lost $684,000 because the loans were unsecured.
Jim and Paola Horvath bought the Parker in late 2013 and brought in Mazzone Hospitality to operate it. Mazzone runs Key Hall at Proctors next door, and said at the time that the Parker would be a good complement, offering out-of-town guests at Key Hall events a convenient place to stay.
Patel’s company, Bhagu & Pritamber Hotels Inc., also owns hotels in East Greenbush and Latham. It acquired the Parker Inn in 2018 and began trying to sell it in 2019, even before the pandemic hit New York. The hotel has been closed for much of the last two years.
A new owner will now get a chance to make repairs, wait out the pandemic and execute a turnaround.