|By Craig Fox, Watertown Daily Times,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 06, 2011--After months of delay, the $12 million Hilton Garden Inn off Arsenal Street is expected to open next month.
Alexandria Bay developer Patrick M. Donegan said Tuesday that he hopes the project will be completed and the 132-room, four-story hotel at Arsenal Street and Interstate 81 will be open for business in August.
"We're getting close," he said, adding that he doesn't have an actual opening date yet.
Last month, Mr. Donegan said that an unusually wet spring and a long winter caused work on the project to take longer than anticipated. At last October's groundbreaking, Mr. Donegan had projected a June 1 opening.
The more-than-88,000-square-foot facility will feature a 4,000-square-foot conference/ banquet center and three restaurants. It's expected to employ about 80 workers.
Mr. Donegan is also about to embark on another phase of the development planned for the site, which already includes Buffalo Wild Wings, Ruby Tuesday, Starbucks, Ponderosa, AT&T and the Holiday Inn Express.
He is building a 2,500-square-foot restaurant that will house a Five Guys Burger and Fries, the first in Northern New York. The closest Five Guys is in Syracuse.
Mr. Donegan has begun site work for the Five Guys, which he hopes will be open by November. He also is working with another chain for another 2,500-square-foot restaurant on the same pad at the development site, just within the city's borders.
He also has been looking for tenants for another restaurant and 15,000 square feet of retail space at the plaza, called Watertown City Center plaza. The development site also includes room for a big-box retailer, but Mr. Donegan doesn't have any definite plans for that phase of the project yet.
On Tuesday, the city Planning Board gave him permission to make a minor change to the original site plan for the Hilton Garden Inn. Planners gave him the go-ahead to move a sidewalk from the south side of the plaza road to the north. He told them it was a better fit for the project and for pedestrians using it.
It would have taken months to get National Grid to move a utility pole and other equipment there, he said, and now he has the approval for the change he can have the sidewalk finished in a couple of weeks.
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