Anthony Stellato, an engineer with CHA who presented the project on behalf of British American Development Corp., (Jim Franco/Spotlight News)
COLONIE — The Planning Board, by unanimous vote, approved the construction of a three-story, 48,000-square-foot, 106-room Tru by Hilton hotel and a three-story, 39,000-square-foot office building on Tuesday, Aug. 21, which represents Phase I of British American Plaza.
Anthony Stellato, an engineer with CHA who presented the project on behalf of British American Development Corp., said he expects ground to be broken as early as next month.
The vote was 5-0 with two Planning Board members absent.
The 42-acre chunk of land is technically 798 Albany Shaker road. To the north is Shaker Ridge Country Club, to the east is Albany Shaker road, Watervliet Shaker Road and the proposed Afrim’s Complex are to the south and Memory Gardens is to the west.
The site is currently zoned for Commercial Office use. There are three lots with the hotel to occupy the 4.4-acre Lot No. 1, the office building to occupy the 5.75-acre Lot 2 with the majority of the remaining site set aside for Phase II, a yet to be proposed professional/office development.
The existing access road from Albany Shaker Road, which is owned by British American and also serves the Hilton Garden Inn, will be given to the town when construction is complete. The creation of an Open Development Area was necessary since all the buildings will be accessed by the one road rather than each having a driveway onto a thoroughfare.
The project is within a Historic Overlay District, and the Shaker Heritage Society was consulted to “incorporate appropriate architectural design elements,” according to the narrative presented to the Planning Board.
“There will be a local information bureau at the hotel lobby, there will be shaker fencing incorporated into the site plan and there will be some signage to promote the shaker lands and there will be access from the hotel parcel to a trail that provides access to the Shaker resources,” Stellato said.
It is within the Airport GEIS so there are mitigation fees associated.
The project was first proposed in 2006 and included four multi-floor office buildings totaling 269,600 square feet plus the hotel with a single point of access on Albany Shaker Road. In 2017 it was scaled back to Phase I, and includes an office building and a hotel.
At total buildout, based on the 2006 design, it would have generated 389 additional trips during the morning rush and 343 during the evening. Albany County requires some sort of action to mitigate traffic at 100,000-square-foot of development so there is a possibility of a traffic signal at Albany Shaker Road when Phase II comes before the board.
Chuck Voss, the towns designated engineer for the project from Barton Loguidice, said there were technical issues with pure waters, or the Sewer Department, and Water Department but they were addressed by the applicant.
As per town code, there will be on space per hotel room plus one per employee at a time when there are a maximum number of employees so the hotel will require 118 spaces. There will be 173 spaces for the office building, or one space per 225 square feet of space.
Anticipated hours of operation for the office building and its 156 employees are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and the hotel will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
British American was once one of the world’s largest Canada Dry franchises. In 1978 it purchased acreage adjacent to the Albany International Airport.
Tru by Hilton was announced by Hilton Worldwide in 2016 as a midscale hotel chain geared towards millennials and include large common rooms to work and socialize and modern technology like mobile check ins.