Kingston planners are considering a proposal to increase the number of luxury cabins and make other improvements at the former Hutton Brick factory property on the Hudson, near Kingston Point. If approved as planned, the development will include 31 luxury cabins, at minimum, on the 72-acre site.
The City of Kingston Planning Board met on January 19 for a public hearing on a special permit for additional hospitality, spa and restaurant accommodations as well as additional parking and a new entrance off of Lindsley Avenue.
The special permit request outlines plans to relocate the approved entrance and access road for the site, provide additional camping facilities and create an open-air restaurant.
During the public hearing, there were three comments, all in opposition. Additionally, there were 16 written public comments submitted, a majority of which were also in opposition. Commenters expressed concerns about not being able to access the newly-completed Empire State Trail, which runs through the property, as well as questions of concern about fire pits and how it will affect the air quality.
“Hutton Brickyards is a huge project and it’s growing all the time,” said Tonya Garment. “We also have the Empire State Trail that runs along the Hudson that is now open … The two entrances to the trail are controlled by the Hutton Brickyards currently… plus there are endless environmental issues such as drainage, sewage, cabins. I think it’s an important project that should not be passed lightly.”
“When you are on North Street it says ‘Welcome to Brickyard Ventures,’ so people really have the impression they are going through a private compound, but North Street is not private,” said Lynn Woods, a Rondout resident who is also a regular contributor to Hudson Valley One. “It’s a city-owned street. I don’t know what the plan is, but it seems to me there has to be 24/7 public access to the Empire State Trail. I can’t believe it’s going to be controlled by a private entity.”
Some local officials offered positive words about the project.
“I believe that as the Hutton Brickyard continues to develop its property to attract potential weekenders and vacationers to its location can only benefit the local economy,” said Alderman Tony Davis.
“I look forward to working with the team in the coming years as they build upon this success [of Hutton Brickyards] and continue to develop one of the region’s most exciting attractions-right here in Kingston,” said Mayor Steve Noble.
Salt Hotels’ website states that the “urban boutique hotel,” which consists of separate cabins, will be open in April of this year. The hotel will be “thoughtfully designed to optimize privacy and water views.” The website also includes that “outdoor recreation and indoor luxury are conveyed through casually elegant surroundings, with nostalgic touches and a timeless upstate attitude.” It also marketing Hutton Brickyards as a one-of-a-kind venue for events, highlighting its suitability for socially-distanced lodging.
Before the hotel came to this location, the site was used for weddings, corporate events, concerts and weekend markets. The website says in the future the site will also host writing and film workshops, movie nights, pop-up recording studios, culinary instruction and themed weekends for learning and entertainment.
Planned on-site amenities will include an archery range, a croquet lawn and fire pits. Nearby there are opportunities for hiking, guided kayaking, paddle boarding, running, outdoor yoga, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and beekeeping.
Salt Hotels also has locations in New Jersey and Massachusetts.
In preparation of potential new jobs, Salt Hotels is offering a “complimentary opportunity to learn the skills needed to thrive in a boutique hotel environment.” Those who complete the eight-week course will “be first in line for open positions at Hutton Brickyards,” according to a Facebook post from Salt Hotels.
The plan for luxury cabins along the Hudson began with a partnership between Salt Hotels, founded by David Bowd and Kevin O’Shea, and the owner of the Hutton Brickyards property, Karl Slovin who purchased the property seven years ago.
The planning board previously approved a plan for 24 cabins at the waterfront in December of 2019, when Salt Hotels were not yet involved in the development.
The planning board public hearing for Salt Hotels’ special permit has not yet been closed and planners are taking comments up until and at the February 16 meeting. Written comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.