Planners sign off on hotel for Mohawk Harbor site

SCHENECTADY — The city Planning Commission approved a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel at Mohawk Harbor as part of Galesi Group’s plans to develop the site with a casino and housing.

Dan Hershberg of the Albany engineering firm Hershberg and Hershberg presented the design, saying he believes the upscale hotel would be a good fit for the casino site.

“We believe it’s an ideal fit for the property,” Hershberg told the Planning Commission during a meeting Wednesday night, “but this was planned for the site before the casino application was even made. We intend to improve the view from Erie Boulevard as part of this project.”

The four-story hotel would be situated at the northern end of the site, toward Freemans Bridge Road. It would be located closer to Erie Boulevard, in front of planned condominiums that would face the river, rather than the hotel.

Hershberg said the Marriott Corp. requested the hotel have flowerbeds around the building. The hotel would also have islands with trees around it.

“The Courtyard by Marriott has landscaping requirements,” Hershberg said. “There will be lighting and a patio. The flowerbeds would be changed based on the season to have a nice change of color with the flowers.”

The hotel comes with a $15 million price tag and would be built and operated by Galesi Group and BBL Hospitality of Albany. BBL currently manages a 146-room Courtyard by Marriott in Saratoga Springs.

The hotel would include a cafe, meeting room, indoor swimming pool and fitness center. It would also have a landscaped courtyard and surface parking for 125 vehicles. The hotel would be staffed by about 20 employees during the day, Hershberg said.

Commission member Tom Carey asked if the building would be built to use less energy to help decrease the impact on the city. Jim Tripp of HBT Architects said they are in conversations with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to try to make the building more energy efficient.

Commission member Mary Wallinger said she believes the design is fantastic. She suggested crosswalks on a road adjacent to the hotel on the site.

Hershberg said the plan for signage is to have a main sign facing Erie Boulevard and another facing the rest of the development on the side of the building. The monument signs and lighting is unclear at this time for the hotel.

Viccaro, Haley. “Planners Sign off on Hotel for Mohawk Harbor Site.” The Daily Gazette [Schenectady] 16 Apr. 2015, National sec.: A6. Print.

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