Scott Dutton, architect for Charles Blaichman’s project to turn the former Bank of New York building at the corner of Wall and John streets into a boutique hotel, told members of the Kingston Planning Board on Monday, Jan. 9 that the hotel as currently envisioned will have nine rooms and a restaurant on the ground floor.
The board voted to declare itself lead agency in the project’s environmental review and declared it would have no environmental significance under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
Dutton told planners that a nine-room layout resulted in “more generous proportions” and that a particularly good room will be made out of the one most recently used by Tonner Doll Co. owner Robert Tonner, who last occupied the 472-square-foot space. “It’s a nicely appointed, wood-paneled room on the second floor,” said Dutton. “We managed to preserve that and keep it as a very nice room.”
Dutton added that once the state Historic Preservation Office, from which the venture is seeking historic tax credits, gives its final approval, he thinks the building could be renovated in a four- to six-month timeframe. As very little in the façade is expected to change, Dutton was optimistic that SHPO would not have much in the way of demands. “The developer is ready, the contractor is poised and ready,” said Dutton.
“Charles will have a hand” in operating the hotel, Dutton said, as well as the restaurant downstairs. “Charles won’t be the restaurateur, per se, but there will be a relationship there.”
Due to space constraints, the restaurant, said Dutton, will offer light fare as there isn’t enough room for “a massive commercial kitchen and walk-in [refrigerators and freezers].”
The board also set a public hearing for RUPCO’s “Landmark Place” proposal, the plan to renovate the old county Alms House into senior housing and units to help homeless people transition away from being homeless. Over the past two planning board meetings, the proposal has generated some protest from neighbors, who argue that the neighborhood isn’t the right spot for such a thing, that Kingston has too much low-income housing and that neighborhood property values would suffer. Fewer speakers have stuck up for the project, citing studies which tout the benefits of low-income housing to the community. The hearing will be Tuesday, Feb. 28 at a time to be determined.