For most of next year, many Proctors performers and Union College visitors will have to stay in hotels outside Schenectady.
And that means they won’t be spending as much in Schenectady shops and restaurants.
The Holiday Inn is closing for major renovations in January and will be closed until late September or October, said Jeffrey Brown, CEO of Schahet Hotel Management. The company owns the Holiday Inn property on Nott Terrace.
The loss of the hotel, and its 183 rooms, leaves just one upscale hotel in Schenectady next year: the Hampton Inn. But that hotel is half the size of the Holiday Inn and generally quite busy.
“It will push business out of the county,” Brown said. “We’re hoping it just comes right back” when the hotel reopens.
With the Hampton often full, the Holiday Inn has been a favorite for the weeklong Broadway engagements. Performers and workers have stayed there, Proctors CEO Philip Morris said.
“They have a long-standing relationship with the Holiday Inn,” he said.
Morris called the performers’ accommodations booking company as soon as he heard about the long-term closure. But there’s not much the company can do — other than the Hampton Inn, the closest upscale hotels are in Albany.
“It does mean a fair number of stays won’t be in Schenectady County,” Morris said.
Union College visitors often fill up the Holiday Inn for homecoming, ReUnion and commencement weekends. The first two events draw 1,200 to 1,800 attendees and commencement brings in significantly more, said Union College spokesman Phillip Wajda.
He said next year the college will recommend other hotels — generally outside Schenectady.
“While the temporary closing of the Holiday Inn will be an inconvenience and force some guests to stay further from campus, in the long run, the renovations will be well worth it,” he said.
Until then, the economic impact of those visitors won’t be felt as strongly in Schenectady. Performers — who stay a week or longer — probably won’t eat every meal in Schenectady or wander through the downtown shops before shows.
“Of course, it’s aimed at a better place later,” Morris said.
The Holiday Inn will become a DoubleTree Hotel, which Brown described as “a step above the Holiday Inn.”
It will have an indoor pool along with other upscale amenities, all of which will be built new. The lobby, offices and meeting rooms will be rebuilt and the hotel rooms will be completely renovated.
Brown said he decided to close the hotel during the renovations with “much heartache.”
“The last thing you ever want to do is close the whole hotel,” he said.
But the renovations touch the entire property, he said.
“It’s too major. We’d have complaints every day,” Brown said. “There would be a lot of havoc to the grounds, to the guests.”
The project will be completed faster with the hotel closed, he said.
And he thinks the closure sends a message to guests that big changes are coming.
“It’s night and day,” he said. “It’s an upscale hotel.”
Brown is sending out letters now to frequent guests and vendors to notify them of the closure. He’s also going to send them progress reports in hopes of getting their business again as soon as the hotel is reopened.
He’s hoping that will be earlier than expected. His contractors will be paid extra for finishing ahead of schedule.
But, Brown said, he’s making no guarantees now for rooms next Thanksgiving.
“With construction?” he said. “You just never know.”