Early this month, the Ulster Town Board held a public hearing on a proposed 100-room hotel proposal at 1581 Ulster Avenue. The Ulster Hotel proposal, brought forth by Ulster Hospitality, hasn’t changed significantly since last being brought before the Town in February 2021; the project has since received approval extensions in January 2022 and April 2023. As proposed, the hotel would come in at 64,810-square-feet over four stories.
The property is just south of Grant Avenue on the northbound side of State Route 9W roughly between the Jolly Cow and QuickChek and roughly a half mile south of Holiday Inn Express & Suites.
Kyle Ahearn, a senior civil engineer with LaBella Associates, provided a brief summary of the plans ahead of the public hearing held on Thursday, November 2, noting that the genesis of the project goes back even further than 2021.
“The project was originally approved in 2019 as lot 2 of the Ulster Commons project,” said Ahearn. “That site is, for the most part, fully built out at this point with the exception of lot two and also one more pad adjacent to the Smoothie King.”
Ahearn said that the developers are proposing no changes to the size of the hotel, with the only amendments coming in interior design, and are hoping they’ll have success as they try to bring the project to fruition this time around.
“Everything is exactly as previously approved,” Ahearn said. “The applicant had applied for extensions of that approval during the pandemic and each year since then. Between the pandemic and then construction costs rising and then interest rates being what they are now, they’re still committed to the project, but they have just had some obstacles to overcome. So back now for re-approval with the hopes that with some of the design changes inside the building, they can get their financing in line and get the project started and completed.”
In mid-October, the Town Board agreed to serve as lead agency during the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) process, and to refer the special permit and site plan application to the Ulster County Planning Board for review. During that meeting, Town of Ulster Supervisor James E. Quigley, III explained that it made more sense for the developer to resubmit the Ulster Hotel plans rather than seeking another extension.
“The project was approved last in 2019, (and) was delayed because of COVID,” Quigley said. “The developer came back and asked for two subsequent extensions to the site plan and we advised him that it would be more prudent to make a full resubmission for a revaluation.”
The re-submittal includes a request for a special use permit to operate a hotel in the town’s office and manufacturing district.
Quigley was absent from the November 2 public hearing, which was chaired by Deputy Supervisor Clayton Van Kleeck. No members of the public spoke during the public hearing, and the Town Board took no further action.
The Ulster County Planning Board has yet to post its agenda for its next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, December 6.