Demolition of the old Weathervane Restaurant on South Broadway in Saratoga Springs will begin in a few months to make way for a four-story, extended-stay Homewood Suites by Hilton.
Plans for the hotel have been chugging along since last spring, when Turf Hotels in Latham first asked the city to change the zoning of the five-acre site from office-medical business district to tourist-related business district. The zoning change took about nine months, said attorney Matt Jones, who is representing Turf Hotels on the project.
An architectural review of the new hotel is on the Design Review Commission agenda for Wednesday night. The commission already approved the project earlier this month on the condition that Bounds + Gillespie Architects make some minor changes to the roof line.
All that remains is approval of a site plan application, expected this fall, and about three months of engineering work before a building permit can be secured, Jones said. He guessed construction on the new hotel could begin in early 2015, if all goes as planned, and wrap up in about 13 months.
“This site is located within one of the top two or three major entrances into the city,” he said. “It’s across from the state park, so there are lots of amenities over there. It’s five acres of land, which is hard to come by in an urban core or downtown area, so you’ve got lots of acreage, but it’s still within walking distance of some great facilities on South Broadway.”
That section of the city is less developed than other areas. The site at 3368 S. Broadway borders a vacant forested lot to the south and east, Murphy’s Driving Range & Miniature Golf to the north and a tree nursery across the road. It sits across from Saratoga Spa State Park and has been designed to complement the “natural conditions” of the park and maintain the “rural country character” of the gateway corridor,” according to application materials submitted for the architectural review.
The site itself was home to The Country Gentleman from the 1950s through the 1970s before it became the Weathervane. It has been vacant for several years.
The proposed 109-room hotel would encompass 98,000 square feet, set back from the road to “maximize open space and scenic views,” according to the architectural review documents. It will feature 134 parking spots at the sides and in back. The exterior would feature stonework on the first floor and white plank siding on the second, third and fourth floors. A brick walkway and white columns at the entrance would give it a classic Saratoga look.
The Homewood Suites by Hilton brand usually features a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and studio suites complete with bathroom, kitchen, dining area, workspace and separate living area with a sofa. Guests have access to free Internet, daily breakfasts, dinner and drinks Monday through Thursday, a grocery shopping service, on-site convenience store, laundry facility, swimming pool, fitness center and business center.
Ground recently broke on a Homewood Suites in Clifton Park. The only other in the region is on Colonie’s Wolf Road, near Albany International Airport.
Jones said the demand for extended-stay hotels is definitely up in the Capital Region.
“We’re seeing more and more demand from places like GlobalFoundries, who have folks come in for several weeks or several months,” he said. “For stays that length, they want accommodations that are a bit more akin to an apartment than a traditional hotel room.”