The list went something like this:
Open a restaurant.
“Check,” muttered Pat Popolizio.
Make it an excellent restaurant.
“Check,” he said.
Open a banquet facility.
“That was the only thing left on my to-do list before retirement,” he said Thursday from inside his banquet hall — the Terrace at Waters Edge.
Glenville town Supervisor Chris Koetzle had just wrapped up the town’s second annual Let’s Talk Business expo, in which he announced local business owners Pat and Karen Popolizio were planning a fall groundbreaking for a $10 million to $14 million, five-story hotel with more than 100 rooms on their riverfront property just off Freemans Bridge Road in Glenville.
It was the last check on their to-do list.
The announcement came exactly one year after the Popolizios announced they were talking with national chains about building a hotel on the banks of the Mohawk River between their popular restaurant, the Waters Edge Lighthouse, and their banquet facility.
“It’s going to be a great addition to the waterfront development,” said Pat Popolizio, who had just picked up a plate of shrimp and scallops at the Thursday night expo. “It will be the only major hotel on the water within 70 miles of where we are here. We are looking forward to it.”
A national chain has agreed to put its name on the hotel, but Popolizio declined to divulge the brand name until all contracts are signed.
Another hotel is being planned for the banks of the Mohawk River not even a mile away, on the former American Locomotive Co. property across the river in Schenectady. Albany’s BBL Construction Services confirmed last year it had plans to build a Residence Inn by Marriott on the former industrial site, complete with in-suite kitchens, a 24-hour market, fitness center, pool and whirlpool spa, on-site laundry and more. But little news has come out since, and ground has yet to be broken.
Popolizio and Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen said they aren’t concerned about the close proximity of the two hotels, since Schenectady County has seen increased demand for hotel beds over the past several years, and feasibility and market studies seem to corroborate as much.
“We’re actually excited, because when they develop that part of the river and we develop ours, this automatically becomes a place to be,” said Popolizio. “It’s a destination. It will accommodate tourists and many of the corporations around, like General Electric and Golub Corp. and Union College. And really, I think they will complement each other and they both will do well.”
Financing is still being ironed out, but Popolizio and “a couple other investors” are planning to pour as much as $14 million into the project. The town will begin the approval process shortly, he added, and has already helped with much of the planning to ensure a September or October groundbreaking.
“You know, many times when we do weddings, we’re sending 20 to 30 people to other hotels in the area when people come in from out of town,” Popolizio said with a contented smile. “Now, we’ll be the total package.”
Town and county officials at Thursday’s expo were anything but surprised by the news. Over the last year, Glenville has seen investment after investment — from the opening of a new Target store on Route 50, the groundbreaking of a $10 million office, retail and apartment building at Socha Plaza and news of a $1.2 million jet hangar at the Schenectady County Airport, among other developments.
Koetzle pointed to the town’s “progressive board” and the creation of a small business economic development committee as some of the factors leading to the rapid growth.
“I think people are starting to see there’s a lot of activity in Glenville,” he said. “I was just talking to a developer who said they went back to their office after an event in Glenville and said ‘Glenville’s the next place that’s going to pop.’ And I think we’re popping and people are interested.”
In its second year, the expo drew more than 150 developers, property owners and businessmen and women from around the region. As the early-evening sunlight streamed through the Terrace’s many windows, the crowd chatted over cocktails and lingered over three dozen or so posterboards featuring available properties around town. The boards listed addresses, acreage, square footage, asking prices and more.
People approached Koetzle after last year’s expo to inquire further about some of the featured properties. He suspected the event led directly to at least three sales.
“We kind of came together and said, ‘How do we get everybody in one room at one time to talk about all the opportunities in Glenville?’ ” Koetzle explained. “Because what we started finding out was developers didn’t know this property was available or landowners didn’t know how to market their properties. So, this event has really helped connect people.”