A private parking garage with 207 spaces is being suggested for downtown Saratoga Springs as a way to provide relief from increased demand for parking that would be generated by a proposed six-story hotel nearby.
The Saratoga Springs Planning Board heard plans Wednesday night for a parking garage on Hamilton Street, between Congress and Williams streets, that would be developed in tandem with a proposed 176-room hotel behind the Rip Van Dam building. The garage would have the capability of expanding to three stories and a total capacity of 285 parking spots, according to Planning Board Chairman Clifford Van Wagner.
Members of the Planning Board raised serious concerns in May about the proposed hotel’s impact on downtown parking, which becomes particularly hard to find in the summer months, when the hotel would like be at its highest occupancy. “You don’t have a place to put cars,” Van Wagner said in May.
While not open for general use by the public, the nearby parking garage is designed to allay those fears.
Anthony Stellato of Clough Harbour and Associates, speaking on behalf of the project developers Wednesday night, was confident the garage could handle the demand from hotel guests, event guests and patrons of Maestro’s restaurant, which is located in the Rip Van Dam building. He said the parking garage would have 68 surplus spots on an average day and three surplus spots during peak demand.
In Stellato’s plan, employees of the hotel and restaurant would not be given access to the garage, so they would be competing for parking spots with the public.
Concerns were also raised in May that the hotel would create competition for parking with the adjacent Bethesda Episcopal Church on Washington Street. Members of the church have presented the Planning Board with a letter voicing their parking concerns.
To deal with this issue, Stellato said employees of the hotel and restaurant would not be allowed to park on certain parts of Washington Street on Sundays. Van Wagner noted that guests would still be able to park on the street and take spots from church attendees, which Stellato acknowledged was a possibility, but he stressed that the hotel’s clientele more likely would take advantage of valet parking.
The hotel is being proposed by local developer Bruce Levinsky, of Provident Development of Saratoga Springs, and Presidian Hospitality, which is based in Texas. Initial plans for the hotel included a ballroom, a banquet facility and a conservatory-style glass-enclosed space at the top.
Levinsky owns the Rip Van Dam building, which was built in the 1840s as a hotel.
Despite additional parking spots being created in the past few years with a garage on Woodlawn Avenue, Saratoga Downtown Business Association President Jeff Clark said the demand for parking downtown will continue to grow, citing new condominiums and the downtown movie theater project.
“We have to take proactive steps,” he said.
Because the hotel behind the Rip Van Dam building now has a plan for parking with the proposed garage, he said the Saratoga DBA didn’t object to the proposal.
One of the big hopes for increased parking in the downtown area is a proposed parking garage behind the City Center. But that project is far from breaking ground.