The new owner and fate of a vacant hotel in the middle of downtown Amsterdam have both come to light recently after the building sold for $1 million at auction in October to an undisclosed buyer.
That buyer was revealed last week as The Eliot Group subsidiary 10 Market Street LLC, which plans to convert the former America’s Best Value Inn at 10 Market St. into a 150-bed assisted living facility.
Eric Newhouse, owner and operator of 10 Market Street, met with Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa and the city’s former director of community and economic development Robert von Hasseln at the hotel Wednesday afternoon as a work crew began cleaning it out.
“We felt that, from the studies we’ve seen, there’s a need for senior housing up here, particularly assisted living,” Newhouse said. “And Amsterdam was a good location. So we’re excited about moving into the city here and building a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility.”
The sale closed last week, he said, and he’s now working with the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency on a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement and possible tax abatements.
The building has been vacant for nearly two years after operating as a hotel under various companies since the 1970s.
“I know I said it for years: ‘What a shame for something in the heart of our city to be so neglected,’ ” Villa said. “So to see this, to see [Newhouse] come in and bring job opportunities — from housekeeping to skilled nursing — is just a plus for us.”
Von Hasseln said the company, which operates similar facilities in Catskill and Erie Station, plans to invest between $10 million and $12 million in the facility. The project is expected to create 75 new jobs.
In the initial sale, the company paid the city about $490,000 in back taxes, fees and penalties on the property, von Hasseln said, with another $294,000 on the way.
As he walked through the building on Wednesday, Newhouse said the structure lends itself perfectly to an assisted-care facility, with a little “TLC.”
“What made the building exciting is that it’s got the bones for a really great facility,” he said. “It will make developing it a couple of years quicker than starting from scratch.”
He said designs are being drawn up while the building is being cleared out, and he expects construction to start in earnest in March or April and wrap up before the end of the year.
“That’s the aggressive time line, and I think it’s doable in this case,” he said.
Von Hasseln noted that the city still needs a hotel, something Villa said would be a priority for him during his campaign last year for mayor.
Although the America’s Best won’t come back as a hotel, von Hasseln said there are about seven sites identified in the city for hotel development, as well as some interested developers.
“That’s not out of the picture,” he said.
Von Hasseln’s position as community and economic development director was abolished on Jan. 1 by Villa, who has put those duties in the hands of the Montgomery County Business Development Center. Von Hasseln remains the city historian and will serve as a consultant on development matters for six months to ease the transition.
Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-0811, firstname.lastname@example.org or @kyleradams on Twitter.