Updated 2:44 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28
By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM -- A Corning-based hotel developer says he wants to build a 95-room Hampton Inn costing $6 million to $7 million on Outer Market Street.
The inn would be on the lots south of McDonald’s restaurant on the west side of the street.
Andy Patel of Visions Hotels, who has been in the hotel business for 25 years, says he would like to begin construction in the spring, and open in the spring of 2014.
He wants to build on the lots at Scoopuccino’s Bakery and Café at 167 Market St. and Ton’s Sports Bar, 169½ Market St. Both lots, totaling about 3.5 acres, are owned by James Sheehan. He confirmed he has signed a contract to sell the lots for the development.
However, Patel said today (Nov. 28) the hotel would not extend onto 157 Market St. where Parkway Ford -- formerly Scott Ford – was located until Parkway moved the operation to Ogdensburg in September.
If the purchase goes ahead and the project gets approvals from village government, it could come at the expense of Canton, where the developer had been looking into a hotel site earlier this year.
If it is built, it will be the first chain hotel in the village.
The need for a good-sized hotel by a reputable chain has long been discussed in Potsdam, owing to a perceived need for more guest accommodations, especially at certain times of the year, during such events as hockey tournaments and college graduations and homecoming weekends.
The last publicly announced chain hotel development plan was at a different site, next to Mama Lucia along Sandstone Drive, when two downstate developers said in the fall of 2007 they would build a Hampton Inn of about 85 rooms. That lot, a declared brownfield site where Potsdam Feed and Coal had been, was off limits due to contamination until a Syracuse firm specializing in such work bought the property in 2003 to clean up the contamination and sell the lot.
Stearns and Wheeler Redevelopment said it had found low levels of volatile and semivolatile organic compounds typically associated with gasoline and fuel oil in the northeast portion of the site, and went about dealing with the pollutants and preparing the site for resale.
At that time Plattsburgh developer Les Miller was eyeing the lot for a hotel, and said he would buy it when it was cleaned up.
The site was cleaned up and sold, but not to Miller, and the hotel plan never materialized.
In 2007 two developers from the Hudson Valley presented plans to the village for a Hampton Inn there, but that plan never came to fruition.
That lot remains empty, and no plan to build a hotel in Potsdam has been brought up until this new plan for Market Street.
Developer Patel said the Hampton Inn he envisions would have about 95 rooms with a small meeting room and a pool and fitness room. There would be no restaurant or conference rooms. He said he has Hampton Inns’ approval for the project.
Patel said the structure would be “the latest prototype Hampton Inns has, the latest design.”
He said he won’t have a firm idea of the opening date “until we are deep into it.”
He would like to break ground “sometime next spring, like May,” and after nine or 10 months of construction, to open in March or April 2014.
Patel was also looking into building a Hampton Inn on the east side of Canton earlier this year. With the new plans in Potsdam, that project, envisioned for an area near the University Plaza on East Main Street, is not proceeding, Patel said.
Patel said he has not yet met with Potsdam Village planners on this plan.
Patel’s organization has other hotels in Watertown, Utica, Cortland and several in the Rochester, Buffalo and Finger Lakes regions.