Amsterdam is making a pitch to developers in hopes that the city’s only downtown hotel doesn’t get boarded up.
Community and Economic Development Director Robert von Hasseln said he’s begun discussions with bankers and brokers after learning the Best Value Inn on Market Street was headed for auction by the mortgage holder.
The 125-room hotel situated just north of the Mohawk River was built in 1973 on a site that’s hosted either a hotel or stagecoach stop since 1800 or earlier, von Hasseln said.
In the beginning, it was a busy Holiday Inn. After an economic downturn it was picked up by the Best Western chain before being purchased by a holding company in 1999. At some point afterward, he said, the owner just “walked away.”
Another holding company, Prism Group, began managing the hotel but taxes are in arrears for several years now, von Hasseln said. “This thing has not been producing anything to the city economy for a number of years,” he said.
Though any sale or auction would be a private transaction, von Hasseln said he and other city officials decided to take action to try to avert an auction. The fear is that a speculator might buy it on the cheap and not put any money into it, until it rots.
The Best Value Inn’s assessed full market value is $1.92 million and the taxable assessment is $1.32 million. It remains open for business, with rooms starting at $49.99 a night, plus tax. Beyond that, not a lot of details are available.
When contacted by telephone Monday, managers referred calls to “Prism Hotels” in Miami, Fla. A representative there referred questions to another phone number that reached a debt collection company in Dallas, Texas.
Von Hasseln said he believes the site is ideal for a hotel and he plans to work with brokers to highlight the benefits an entrepreneur might realize by taking it on as a project. He thinks demolition and new construction might be easier than upgrading what’s there now, but it’s unclear what either one might cost.
Von Hasseln is detailing for investors a variety of “Reasons to own a hotel in downtown Amsterdam.” These include the city’s proximity to historic sites and attractions including those in the Adirondacks and Catskills as well as nearby historic landmarks, the Erie Canal and the Mohawk River.
Other benefits are still in the future — the new pedestrian bridge to be built by 2015 and planned relocation of the train station closer to the city’s downtown.
Von Hasseln said the auction planned for earlier this year was called off and he is not aware of another date being set yet. He said he’s already received input from one developer who might be interested in the hotel.