Development including 50-room hotel & conference center proposed for center of New Paltz

Pictured in the center of this photo is the former model of an apartment, hotel and underground parking garage complex proposed for the parcel of land known as “the pit” just west of the New Paltz Village Hall. The parcel was purchased in 2015 by the Lalo Group Inc. Pictured are Luis Martinez of the Lalo Group Inc. and Jason Anderson of Anderson Design Group. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

Luis Martinez, principal of the Lalo Group, returned with a team of consultants to bring a new application for development of the property colloquially known as the “pit” to New Paltz Village Planning Board members at their August 4 meeting. Where earlier proposals to build on the land bordered by Elting, Hasbrouck, and Plattekill avenues would have required rewritten zoning to support six- and eight-story buildings, the group of commercial buildings in this application won’t even need a variance according to consultants.

This will be a bigger project to review than most current board members have ever tackled. The complex will include a 50-room hotel, a conference center with spa and banquet hall, and a third building with restaurant and other retail topped by offices, all at three stories. The buildings will be connected by a two-level, underground parking garage and loading docks. The plan proposes 363 parking spaces in that subterranean area, which developers say is 41 more than would be necessary. These calculations are based on those 50 hotel rooms, 13,350 square feet of retail space, 30,700 square feet of office space (for which there may already be a committed tenant), and a seating capacity of 280 in the conference center.

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Attorney John Capello touted several features of the plan. Hotels require backup generators, meaning that this one with its central location would not only be within walking distance of many businesses, ibut also could become a “central emergency response” and “gathering place” during emergencies.

Guests would include tourists, visitors to the college, and those doing business with office tenants and using the conference center. Capello said that the office space will be used by a local technology company, the owners of which wish to expand within the village. All told, 300 jobs will be created once the complex is up and running, the attorney predicted. He was not asked whether tax breaks would be sought through the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency, where the number of permanent jobs created is a consideration.

Landscape architect Justin Dates explained that access to the site will be via a private drive that will run from Plattekill to Hasbrouck avenues. There won’t be a connection to the municipal lot, as had been proposed in an earlier plan. A walkway will wind around the property, and there will be a plaza near the retail space. The plan also includes an outdoor deck on the third story of the conference center, and two roof gardens atop the office building.

Though the architectural style of the three buildings has not yet been designed, it will be “something that complements the community” according to architect Jason Anderson. The scaled-back design derives in large part from feedback provided on the larger design that had been proposed a couple of years ago.

On the recommendation of board attorney Rick Golden, the planning  board declared this project a Type 1 action pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act. While the project falls short of the normal 500-space parking threshold, its contiguity with an historic district triggers a more extensive  environmental review  with 125 spaces or more/ in this case. The environmental impact statement will determine whether there is a significant impact and how that impact can be adequately mitigated.

Golden also laid out a number of issues that would have to be clarified. The village planning board can’t even declare an intent to assume lead-agency status until a full environmental assessment form is filed, he said. There are also a number of details needed regarding building heights and restaurant seating. Golden said that guidance from the building inspector on questions such as parking requirements for a spa and requirements for a “commercial group” should be sought as soon as possible.

The village board will be named as an involved agency because its authorization is needed for water and sewer hookups. The sewage to be generated from this project is estimated at 15,500 gallons per day. This project will have to be reviewed at the county level once the application is complete and will require a public hearing. 

Should approval be granted, Martinez estimated, he could get the entire project built in no more than two years.

There are 14 comments

  1. Planning and Design

    Do this. Seriously, do this. New Paltz needs the jobs, we need the hotel rooms, we need — now more than ever before in our history — to have a high quality, well-designed downtown hotel and parking. 90% of our economy is higher education and tourism, we need to be courageous in supporting those industries. As Covid passes in 2021-2022 a community-centric development like this plan will be a major driver in bringing back our growing rows of empty store fronts and will put vitally needed wages into our town.

    The old ‘pre-Covid’ resistance to new ideas and new developments in this town can’t survive any longer, we can’t push out things that will only benefit us for the long-term.

  2. localgal

    Agree 100000%! Do this! Stop complaining about crowds and high taxes when neither are going to change without change! Let’s start with ….. Parking?!?!? Who says, “no” to parking while living in the Village??? Oh the list goes on with the positives! Smart design! High paying jobs and high end draw! Please don’t ruin another opportunity for smart growth!!!!!

  3. Kristin Brown

    Our community supported the Martinez family during its deportation crisis. I hope they will return the favor and respect our small town community character and scale back its size and tax breaks. We can’t afford to pay the taxes a project of this magnitude will cost.

  4. Truth Sayer

    This project is way too large and requires a ton of traffic moving through the heart of the village to be successful. Not worth it. At all. We don’t even see our fair share of tax revenue from tourists, how is this good for the community? Don’t believe the hype, especially when the only positive comments are from anonymous posters.

  5. Local F

    This will not bring many high paying jobs. Hotel jobs only have a handful of high paying jobs, even then I would not consider them “high.” Most will be minimum wage or just barely above, with high turnover. It will also bring a ton of traffic to a village already strangled by traffic. This is an insanely large project for such a small space.

    1. R Winter

      Agreed. Not high paying at all, unless you’re senior company management. Housekeepers, maintenance, front desk – min wage, min wage, min wage.

  6. Donna Kirdahy

    NO! Move this project to the outskirts of town or better yet cancel it. Town is already overrun with traffic between students and tourists. This is a nightmare for local residents trying to hang on to our homes and community.

  7. Master C

    Traffic in the village is already horrible, Id say just turn it into a parking lot if anything. We already gave that big complex thats going to add more traffic across the street from Stewarts which is going to add something.

    Most of these jobs are minimum wage jobs, I can see them using Suny students to fill in, and of course immigrants. They need jobs too but just seeing the picture here, not a big win for the Village.

    Keep the Hotels near the Thruway.

  8. FunkieGunkie

    This does not fit the character of a small town nor does it do anything to help the awful traffic problem. In fact it will only make it worse. Wrong location, wrong idea. Seriously, who comes up with these hair brained ideas? Oh, money hungry people.

  9. Home Pro

    Sounds like this will be quite the sizeable complex.. As with all new growth areas, the developers (and government) need to make sure they can scale the infrastructure to handle the growth that will come along with it. Oversight is needed and if it’s done properly this could be a good shot in the arm for the local economy.

  10. Nathan Tableman Tableman

    Please please please build this…anything but smoke shops, hippie junk, and things that serve students. There are adults living here you know! Just look at Kingston, even in a pandemic there is a lot going on. What do we have? Some tables in a parking lot? A lot of empty storefronts? Time to diversify the businesses and create reasons for all that “traffic” to stop and spend time here.

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