Heather Wyld and Tony Stellato, of CHA, present a sketch plan of Phase I if British American Plaza on Tuesday, Nov. 14. (Photo by Jim Franco/Spotlight News)
COLONIE — Phase I of British American Plaza, a new hotel and office building on Albany Shaker Road, went before the Planning Board for the first time on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
The sketch plan review is a way for the developers to introduce the project to the Planning Board to gauge if there are any major obstacles in developing the 42-plus acre plot along the Shaker Ridge Country Club.
The site is currently zoned for commercial offices and developers are not looking for any variances or similar considerations from the Planning Board.
Phase I includes a four-story, 48,000-square-foot hotel with a yet to be named franchise and a 25,000-square-foot office building. Phase II, which is not currently in front of the board, will include two other office buildings of 97,900-square-foot each.
The existing access road from Albany Shaker Road, which also serves the Hilton Garden Inn, will be given to the town when construction is complete.
Tony Stellato, of Clough Harbor Associates, the engineering firm charged with construction, said while there is no set time frame, British America will likely bring Phase II to the board shortly after Phase I is approved. He said, if all goes well, construction could start this spring.
The 98-room hotel will have 12 employees so that means 110 parking spots. The office buildings require one space per 225-square-foot of space, totaling 1,198 spots when both phases are complete.
More than 1,000 employees are expected at the office building.
“They believe there is a market for it and shortly after we get our final approvals they will be initiating the next stages,” Stellato told the board. “It will happen sooner rather than later.”
Steve Heider, a member of Planning Board, mentioned the fact of new hotels going up across Colonie and the proximity of the Hilton Garden Inn to the latest proposal.
“My only concern, and it’s more of a future concern, is that we are building these
beautiful hotels and everyone likes the new toys but we are going to get stuck with all these old, ugly empty buildings,” he said.
Stellato said he recently stopped by the Hilton and the people working the desk said they were 98 percent at capacity.
Heather Wyld, also of CHA, said a traffic study was done when the project was first proposed in 2006 and another done this year to reflect a smaller office building. The projected number of trips for the incarnation before the Planning Board now are 389 during the morning rush hour and 343 during the evening.
British American LLC, a huge conglomerate that once was the largest franchisee of Canada Dry, owns the 350-acre Airport Park as well as office building in Menands and Albany.
In other business, the Planning Board:
Conducted a sketch plan review of a proposal to build two restaurants at Latham Farms on land where Walmart had its Garden Center.
One, Corlife Eatery, has a lease to occupy a 4,000-square-foot restaurant that will seat 170 and employ 12. Corlife is a fast food type restaurant that focuses on healthy foods.
The proposal includes a second, 2,600-square-foot restaurant that will seat 60 and employ six. The remainder of the 9,000-square-foot space will be dedicated to retail.
A few years ago, the owners of Latham Farms underwent a major transformation when it shifted Dicks Sporting Goods into where Walmart used to be and also brought in Field and Stream to share the store.