Hotels/Lodging

Revisions in the works for Hotel Flanagan grant

By: DENISE A. RAYMO

MALONE — A $2.1 million grant awarded in 2007 to revive the Hotel Flanagan could assist North Country Community College’s student-housing plan for the property.

The application would require updating to reflect changes in the proposal, however.

Empire State Development, which awarded the grant, requires the revision before any money can be released for a different use.

The application must go to a public hearing, and the Village Board scheduled that session for 6 p.m. Monday, July 21, at the North Country Community College campus on Williams Street.

Developers must rework the application to include North Country’s plan to create housing for the 100 to 150 additional students it expects to attend the college and a possible hydropower project to provide electricity for the school’s Fine Arts Department.

That trumps the original 101-room hotel concept that had been in the works to turn the downtown eyesore into a Best Western Inn and Suites.

And it brings the college’s vision into play to remake Malone into a college community with a vital downtown.

‘VERY MUCH ALIVE’

Bob Hest of Fuller Communications, who is authorized to speak for the developers, said the NCCC plan “is very much alive” and that more details will be forthcoming as soon as the final few pieces of information needed for the application are received.

“We need to revise the application because the project is going forward,” he said. “We’re getting very close to updating the concept.”

The idea was first made public about a year ago, when NCCC President Dr. Steven Tyrell told Franklin County legislators the college would offer four-year degrees through a partnership with another college, which he declined to name.

He said the first three years of the project’s development could bring an $11 million economic boost and create as many as 100 jobs.

Downtown housing would bring the students and community closer together and could kickstart interest from business owners and investors to settle in the village to cater to the younger residents, he said.

Tyrell also told lawmakers the idea would work well with the village’s Local Waterfront Redevelopment Plan to attract more use and enjoyment of the Salmon River, which runs adjacent to the Flanagan property at the corner of Elm and Main streets.

NCCC expects to attract more out-of-county and Canadian students by having housing available.

In addition to the hydropower idea, North Country might also partner with Cornell Cooperative Extension on agricultural-technology programs to grow hydroponic produce for local schools or food pantries and could create programs to generate aquaponic and aeroponic products.

INVESTORS BACKED OUT

The hotel has been vacant since a 1997 arson fire that gutted the place and killed a man, and it has been condemned since another man fell to his death there in 1999.

Developers UICC Holding LLC were set to build the Best Western, and Company President Frank Cositore Jr. spent $2 million of his own money to clean the site up, but their investors backed out during the global economic downturn.

The Flanagan went into foreclosure in 2009 and was purchased by Stone Mountain Prime LLC. A downsized version of hotel project was discussed in May 2012 but never progressed beyond that stage.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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