Developer unveils plans for boutique hotel at four locations in Uptown Kingston

301 Wall St., which would also include a ground-floor restaurant

Charles Blaichman, who has purchased at least eight buildings in the Stockade neighborhood of Kingston and isn’t yet through buying yet, showed a significant card in his hand at the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency meeting this Wednesday morning. He and local broker Nan Potter presented Blaichman’s plan to convert four Uptown properties that he and New York City project partners Michael and David Barry and Scott Shnay had bought for a total of $2.7 million into a decentralized boutique hotel with about 40 units of accommodations in all, plus a ground-floor restaurant at 301 Wall St. (a former bank) and ground-floor retail at 270 Fair St. (formerly owned by Mark Miller).

The other locations in the four-property accommodations package are at 41 Pearl St. and 34 John St. Valet parking will be provided for guests, and other nearby Blaichman-owned properties are available to meet zoning requirements for parking spaces.

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Blaichman indicated that the $8.7 million in total project cost, 70 percent in the form of a commercial mortgage from Rondout Savings Bank and 30 percent in equity, would be spent to convert the four properties to their new use. He said the restorations would in all cases meet or exceed local and state standards. “I have a penchant for historic properties,” he told the IDA. “With assistance I could make it better.”

The developer owns at least six other properties in Kingston, four of which are in the Stockade neighborhood. “I think that now Kingston is doing really great,” he said. “The bank building was a good start. I think we can do something unique and terrific.”

Blaichman is seeking assistance from the IDA, including exemption from property taxes on improvements as stipulated in the standard IDA format of 100 percent for the first three years, 75 percent for the subsequent two years, and 50 percent for the next five years. During that 10-year period, the project would pay the present property taxes estimated at $1.132 million rather than the approximately $2 million the applicant would pay without the exemption if the improvements were in place. The application estimates that IDA approval would save the applicant $632,000 in property taxes, $184,000 in sales taxes on the improvements, and $48,000 in mortgage taxes.

IDA staff was instructed to set a public hearing on Blaichman’s present application. Rumors abound that Blaichman may soon have other cards in his development hand.

Out-of-the-box boutique facilities appear to be all the rage. In other IDA business, the agency will hold a public hearing next Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Kingston’s City Hall on the plans for a “food hub” at 311 Wall St., the former Woolworth’s in the same neighborhood. Also in the pipeline are IDA applications in the next few months for a wedding facility in former greenhouses in Shawangunk and a distillery-plus-eventual- accommodations facility planned for Route 9W in Esopus.

There are 3 comments

  1. The Red Dog Party

    It’s always a difficult choice to grant tax (abatements) or waivers. A main concern is to ensure that existing property owners, who have contributed to the City’s tax base over the years, are also eligible for similar tax abatements when they do improvements to their properties.

  2. UpstateGuy

    The five-year benefits, leading to long-term benefits will generate more revenue in town than anyone can imagine. These tax breaks are a drop in the bucket to what they can generate across the board.

    We’ve got a fantastic momentum happening in both the Stockade and by the river and surrounding areas…now we need the guests and visitors who can help those local businesses continue to succeed.

    To put it bluntly, now and right now is ‘our moment’ to either forever change the course of Kingston and
    establish us as a true travel destination or not. I raise my hand and say go for it. The long-term job growth, and tax revenue from visitors, investors, the press, the new businesses that will follow will get vacant and new properties back on line generating revenue…and can finally, once and for all, shake us free of the IBM curse we’ve suffered for decades.

    I can list 100 cities and towns around the country that are successful, profiting more than ever imagined, with low, low unemployment and thousands of new jobs based on exactly this kind of growth. And just to
    be sure, the majority of those jobs are well-paying (in the 60-150 thousand annual hospitality and management jobs). We’re NOT talking minimum wage if a town takes off…these are jobs that pay envious wages.

    Having these high-quality hotel properties in Kingston would be epic and we need to do what we can to get these moving into high gear!!!

  3. 20 Year Kingstonite

    Yes yes, let’s turn Kingston into a destination spot for out-of-towners, a nice touristy joint. And make sure to call it a boutique hotel (which translates to “expensive”). Do you honestly think this is going to generate high paying jobs?? Do we really want to become Rhinebeck? And just how many God forsaken restaurants can we support in the small uptown area? With its complete lack of parking and congestion as it is now. Frankly, if someone wanted to redo the Broadway midtown, I’d say go for it; but nothing ever happens there. How crowded and noisy and expensive do you want uptown to get?

    Trust me when I say these investors and developers are not interested in keeping the charm of uptown Kingston around once they get in here. Kingston as a whole should be more interested in filling and re-purposing buildings like the mall with corporations/companies that really offer jobs and many of them, to locals and who may stick around for the long run. Boutique anything, including storefronts, have shown in the past to stick around just long enough for the buzz to wear off and fade into another empty storefront or – have turned a small historic area into a pricey space that is no longer affordable to locals. Ahem, take a look at the Rondout and what’s happened there for the past 20 years.

    This doesn’t translate into jobs. This translates into older building owners moving out, apartment rents going sky high (all over Kingston), space rentals becoming exorbitant, congestion becoming magnified, and uptown becoming unaffordable.

    I agree we have momentum and let’s keep it going. This, however, is NOT THE WAY. But what can you do? MONEY TALKS. Get the bulldozer out.

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