A second hotel project has been announced for Schenectady County’s riverfront.
The Waters Edge Lighthouse owner Pat Popolizio said Tuesday he is talking with interested national chains to build a three- to four-story hotel with 80 to 110 rooms between the restaurant and his banquet facility on the shore of the Mohawk River off Freemans Bridge Road. He does not yet have an estimate of the cost and did not say what hotels are under consideration.
“They are very interested. We have not finalized anything,” he said.
Last week, the Galesi Group announced a multi-story hotel and upscale riverfront apartment complex for the former Alco industrial site on Erie Boulevard in Schenectady.
Popolizio said he believes it is the right time for the project, with the area’s economic growth, including expansion at GE and the arrival of GlobalFoundries, a new Target under construction on Route 50 and the proximity to Schenectady County Airport.
“We’re in the center of many industries and large businesses and the fact that the water traffic has been excellent in the last few years. The Mohawk River is cleaned up. It’s becoming more of a destination place for people,” he said.
Popolizio hopes to begin the approval process in a couple of months. He said he didn’t know whether the project is eligible for tax credits.
Popolizio has owned the property since 2004. He renovated the former Riverside Restaurant and opened the Waters Edge in 2005. In 2009, he added a 5,300-square-foot, $1.5 million banquet facility that can seat 240 people and a five-room inn above the restaurant. The property also includes a 60-slip marina and is also home to a 9/11 memorial featuring two beams from the fallen World Trade Center.
Saratoga Associates, which worked on Riverlink Park in Amsterdam, is handling the design of the hotel. President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Shearer said the company enjoys doing waterfront projects.
“I think it’s an undertapped resource in the Capital District. It’s a nice thing when we can get back to using our waterfront in a sustainable manner,” he said.
He met Popolizio because both serve on U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko’s Mighty Waters Task Force. Popolizio contributed his input to the design, according to Shearer. “He wanted something that absolutely fit in the context of the whole Waters Edge property. I think when that hotel is up, it really completes the waterfront on the Glenville side,” Shearer said.
News of the pending development pleased town officials.
“We think this is huge for Glenville,” said town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “We know by the past investments that Pat has made in our community that this is going to be a first-class showcase hotel in the area.”
Popolizio announced this project last week at a forum the town organized for developers, who Koetzle said were interested in other opportunities in Glenville.
“We’re getting a lot of inquiries now on various projects,” he said.
Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner agreed the project taps into interest on the riverfront. There are a little more than 700 hotel rooms in the county, so there is a need for additional capacity, according to Steiner.
“It’s a beautiful setting. He’s done such a nice job with the restaurant and now with the Terrace banquet room,” he said.
This is the third major project announced in Schenectady County within a week. In addition to the Alco hotel project, the owners of Socha Plaza are planning to spend $9 million to construct a three-story building housing retail, office space and corporate apartments on Route 50 near its current facility.