Representatives from the developers of the Wyldwyck Resort in Glasco held a formal groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, May 26 featuring representatives and town and Ulster County tourism officials.
The resort, which developers expect to open in July 2022, includes a 120-seat restaurant, 72 rooms, a full-service spa, sauna and a pool spread across a large main building and multiple cabins, agricultural fields, staff housing, artists’ studios and stables for horse-riding on the property, as well as utilities and service areas. It’s located off Liberty St. behind the Glasco Firehouse, abutting the Hudson River.
Preliminary site work was well underway during the course of the ceremony with bulldozers and excavators hard at work building roads and laying the way for utilities like electric, sewer and water. Large pipes awaiting installation flanked the entry road while towering mounds of dirt and gravel access roads weaved across the site like a maze.
Speaking at the gathering held five days before Memorial Day, Hafeez Choudhary, a Long Island-based resort developer and co-owner, struck a patriotic tone.
“[America’s] Constitution is the best document human history has from the past 1,000 years,” Choudhary said. “And America is great and God Bless Americans and America.”
He admitted it was difficult to get financing for the project amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My lender trusts me and trust my ability and gave me all the money which I need here,” Choudhary said. “That’s why we have so much work done and we will complete it as per our plan.”
He thanked the town planning board, which approved the project, first proposed in 2016, in 2019, town and county officials and his development, engineering and construction team.
The developer closed his brief speech by stating that he’s looking forward to welcoming everyone assembled back for a grand opening next July.
Choudhary’s daughter, Fariah Choudhary, is the project’s architect. She said she worked with a Washington State-based architectural firm Culter-Anderson on designing a resort that will connect guests to the physical landscape of the Hudson Valley and pay homage to the area’s long agricultural heritage while creating an intimate setting.
“The Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains were essential to the design,” Fariah Choudhary said. “The access of the main entry drive shields the guests from the view of the river and the highest peaks of the Catskills when one enters the resort.”
But when guests enter the slightly elevated main hall, the view of the river will be revealed to them, Choudhary said. “It is hoped will be a more dramatic arrival and it will serve to connect guests to the broad context of the region,” she said.
She described the resort’s design as “simple yet powerful” and deriving its design from the area’s natural landscape.
The main hall will separate the orchard portion of the resort property from the meadow portion. Suites will have exterior entrances and all with have a private terrace overlooking the meadow, she said. The event hall will be located south of the main hall, she added.
“This property has a long history in Glasco and Saugerties, it’s been an economic driver for the area since the 1800s,” Adam Friedman, a member of the ownership team said. “It’s been a brickyard as well as facilitating Northeast Solite’s operations and it’s been a number of years since this property has been putting revenue into the community.”
Friedman said resort is expected to cost $36 million and eventually rake in $10 million in revenue each year.
Friedman said once open, the resort is expected to employ about 50 persons full-time about 25-50 part-time. Friedman said they will make every effort to hire locals for these positions and use local contractors whenever possible.
When asked if Wyldwyck would compete for guests head-to-head with a glamping resort at the Hutton Brickyards in the city of Kingston operated by Salt Hotels, Friedman said he feels Wyldwyck will appeal to a different crowd looking for a bit more luxury than they could find glamping. He expects the suites to go for an average nightly rate of somewhere in the middle hundreds of dollars, depending on demand.
Friedman recalled the first time the developers visited Saugerties and how intrigued he was with the community’s charm including the bluestone sidewalks. “And it’s that charm that attracted us in the first place,” he said.
Friedman said Wyldwyck is committed to being good neighbors to those living nearby, including several homes on State Route 32 immediately adjacent to the project site and access drive, and he promised to listen to their concerns as work progresses.
“We want to stress we’re continuing to strive to do that,” Friedman said.
Mark Farruqui, the site’s construction manager, said that includes limiting most construction to between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
He said after the preliminary site work is done, attention will turn to lay the foundation for the large main building which will be oriented north-south affording guests views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. The third phase will include constructing the one and two-bedroom cabins and finally furnishing and finishing the interiors of the buildings and decorating everything.
Local officials supportive
Town Supervisor Fred Costello said it was a long process to get to this groundbreaking. He recalled how the initial proposal put forth was rejected by the town planning board after receiving a great deal of skepticism from town residents who were a bit nervous when they learned of a proposal for a hotel in their backyards.
But Costello said his fears turned to excitement as he got to know the developers and they modified their plans to address officials and residents and concerns.
“We learned Adam [Friedman]’s here for a reason and he’s here for the same reason, the love for the natural landscape, that we all came to call this place home,” Costello said.
The supervisor said the developers came here to do more than making an investment, they came here to be part of the community.
“They demonstrated that already by having local engineers do the planning and bringing in local contractors to do the site work,” Costello said. “This project represents a transformation of our community’s economy. We’ve become a hospitality destination and this will only enhance it by offering amenities that different parts of the community don’t offer.”
Ulster County Director of Tourism Lisa Berger praised the project and its projections of bringing in another $10 million in tourism dollars. She said county tourism officials look forward to promoting the resort to bring in visitors from across New York State, the U.S. and the world.
“That sounds good to us, especially given the jobs and opportunity this project represents for the local people, especially our young people,” Berger said. “It gives our young people a chance to stay here and earn a really great career.”