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Could Hotels be Next Amenity for Regional Shopping Malls?
Developer Michael Hoffman Planning 115-room Staybridge Suites
at Albany, New York's Colonie Center

By Eric Anderson, Times Union, Albany, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 12, 2012--COLONIE -- Could hotels be the next amenity to be found at regional shopping malls?

Clifton Park Center has had a Hilton Garden Inn for more than a year, and now developer Michael Hoffman is planning a seven-story, 115-room Staybridge Suites hotel at the north edge of the Macy's parking lot at Colonie Center.

The shopping center has benefited from the large number of hotels along Wolf Road, said Susan Spaccarelli, the mall's marketing manager.

"We see an influx of that business here at night," she said Thursday. "People are looking for things to do."

Colonie Center offers theaters and an assortment of restaurants, as well as shops and department stores.

The hotels are typically full during the week, said Spaccarelli and Michele Vennard, president and CEO of the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Often, the guests are visiting the Albany Nanotech complex or local technology firms.

Last weekend was a three-day weekend for both U.S. and Canadian residents -- Monday was Columbus Day and Canada's Thanksgiving -- and Wolf Road stores were crowded with Canadian visitors looking for bargains, thanks to the stronger Canadian currency.

Presumably they didn't drive down just for the day, so hotel operators also benefited, Vennard said.

Hoffman's Staybridge Suites would be a short stroll across the Macy's parking lot to the shopping center. It would be even closer to the newly opened Trader Joe's, and because each room in Staybridge will have a full kitchen, the quirky grocer also could benefit.

The next step for Hoffman is to seek planning board approval, said Joe LaCivita, Colonie's director of planning and economic development. Planners got a preview at their meeting Tuesday night.

Officials also will need to approve the plan to have the hotel accessible by a privately owned road, because it won't be directly on Wolf Road.

Hoffman couldn't be reached Thursday for comment.

Staybridge is considered an extended-stay hotel, thus the kitchens. It also offers a variety of room arrangements, including one- and two-bedroom suites, and permits guests to bring their pets, although there's an extra charge.

Staybridge is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, which also includes Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts.

Hoffman also operates a Holiday Inn Express on Western Avenue in Albany, a Holiday Inn Resort in Lake George, a Hampton Inn and Suites in Saratoga Springs, and a Homewood Suites by Hilton at the north end of Wolf Road.

"The Homewood on Wolf Road has worked out so beautifully for him," Vennard said. "Extended stay properties -- they're all doing well." --518-454-5323


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