|By Jaegun Lee, Watertown Daily Times,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 21, 2011--CLAYTON -- Krog Corp. and Hart Hotels unveiled Thursday their vision for a five-story, "world-class" luxury hotel on Clayton's Frink site.
Construction is slated to begin as soon as fall 2012 if the Buffalo-based partners can finance the $35 million project to build a 120- to 140-room four-star hotel by then.
"Our goal is to open it in the spring of 2014," said Paul R. Neureuter, president of Krog Corp. "We think we have a good project here and we're confident that we can finance it."
Mr. Neureuter said that the project faces a few challenges -- including a lack of water, sewer and electric infrastructure and absence of gas service on the site -- but that the partners have identified about 30 grant programs for private developers and municipalities that could offset part of the capital cost.
Based on a market study done for the site, Krog projects that the hotel will generate $11 million in revenue annually and create at least 90 jobs.
The multilayered hotel was designed to reflect the historic feel of Clayton and will have a cobblestone facade that will help it blend into its general surroundings.
"We think of it as a high-end destination hotel. Our goal is to bring people to Clayton and the Thousand Islands region," he said. "There's culture here; the Opera House, the Antique Boat Museum. There's a style ambience to Clayton that doesn't exist elsewhere in the Thousand Islands region. And we think that the kind of facility we're envisioning would complement that, and will be aided by that culture and that civility."
A grand lobby, two restaurants, bars, a large ballroom that can accommodate 275 people and an indoor pool will occupy the first floor of the building. Hotel rooms will all be on the upper four floors.
Surrounding the hotel will be gardens, porches, plenty of green space and the Clayton riverwalk that wraps around the peninsula.
The partners decided not to extend Riverside Drive along the edge of the Frink property to protect Clayton's brick trail and the proposed hotel's manicured grounds from traffic and noise.
"When we saw the site, we loved it. The viewsheds are unbelievable and the proximity to the downtown area and Riverside Drive is awesome," Mr. Neureuter said.
The 1,100-foot riverwalk and the hotel grounds will be separated with a 4-foot-high fence, but there will be access points connecting the public walkway with the soon-to-be-private property.
Although the potential developers and Clayton began crafting a common vision for the 8.4-acre riverfront property in July 2010, Krog and Hart Hotels have yet to purchase the site from the town government and the Clayton Local Development Corp.
Krog has completed numerous mixed-use development projects in New York communities similar to Clayton, such as the $15 million Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel it built through a partnership with Hart Hotels.
"I think they did an awesome job with the designs," said Larry W. Aubertine, chairman of the development corporation, who was clearly pleased with the draft designs presented by Rochester-based NH Architecture.
Clayton has spent several years and millions of dollars to clean up and prepare the former Frink America site for redevelopment. And the village, town and development corporation continue to seek grants to help the developers make the project financially viable.
More recently, the Clayton LDC secured a $250,000 grant for the hotel's water and wastewater systems and the partners this month will apply for a $750,000 federally funded grant to install basic infrastructure on the Frink site.
Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said the installation of the 50 to 56 transient docks planned for the site will coincide with the 14-month construction of the proposed hotel.
(c)2011 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.)
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