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Potsdam planning director pleased by hotel proposals

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POTSDAM — The village has been without a much-needed full-size hotel for years. Now two are on the horizon, and there is plenty of room for both, said Planning and Development Coordinator Frederick J. Hanss.

“There’s a pretty significant deficit of hotel rooms in St. Lawrence County as a whole,” Mr. Hanss said. “I don’t think one would negatively detract from the other.”

Visions Hotels Inc., Corning, presented its plans for a $6 million 95-room Hampton Inn on Market Street earlier this month. The hotel would take the place of Scoopocino’s restaurant, Ton’s Sports Bar and the Village Florist.

So far, the plans the village has received have been preliminary. The hotel is being designed by Clough Harbour & Associates, Albany.

Andy Patel, president of Visions Hotels, is overseeing the project. Visions Hotels owns several franchise hotels in Central and Western New York and the Best Western Carriage House hotel in Watertown.

The village Planning Board expects an in-depth site plan review early next year, but the early designs are promising, according to Mr. Hanss. They show that the designers have done their homework, and have a good understanding of village codes and zoning laws.

“It appears to us, based on this very preliminary drawing, that they will be able to comply with the village zoning ordinances,” he said.

A full-size hotel has long been a Potsdam priority. SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University often draw visitors to the village, but the small inns in the village fill up quickly, leaving tourists to look elsewhere for a place to stay. The town of Potsdam has three motels, but the nearest full-sized hotel is in Canton.

Potsdam’s comprehensive 10-year plan, which was officially adopted yesterday, calls for the village to seek out hotel developers to solve this problem.

So far, Visions Hotels has not asked for any financial assistance from the village, according to Mr. Hanss.

The second hotel project is part of a plan that also includes a conference center and housing development, overseen by SUNY Potsdam.

The Lehman Park project would be funded by the college and Titus Management Group, Colton, and will include an 85-room hotel.

It is uncertain when construction on either project will begin.

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