Businessman: Lack of hotel is detriment to business in Montgomery County

FONDA — While explaining an expansion project of his professional office building on Route 5S to the Montgomery County Planning Board, business owner Dominic Wade lamented the lack of a hotel in the Amsterdam area.

Wade, whose core business is Mohawk Fabric, told the planning board he often hosts prospective clients and key vendors who have an expectation for corporate accommodations, and he said he can’t give them a place to stay in Montgomery County.

“In my textile business, I deal with billion-dollar companies as my customers that come in, and I have to tell them to stay in Albany. We eat in Albany, and they come out and visit our state-of-the-art facility that we rebuilt about five years ago and then we shuttle them back to Albany,” he said. “There’s no legitimate place for them to stay here. It’s embarrassing as a professional business person that there’s not something close in town. It doesn’t have to be luxurious … and Amsterdam does not have that, and it’s a huge deterrent when we bring customers in for events, for site tours or meetings. They have to stay outside of the area, and I think that’s a handicap for the area. Anyone who’s looking to sink millions of dollars into a project here in Amsterdam isn’t going to find professional accommodations to stay there, so why would they invest when their CEO wants to visit the facility and they need to stay out of the area.”

The planning board approved Wade’s proposal to expand his Mohawk Properties Office Building No. 1 by 4,500 square feet. Wade said the project will cost about $600,000 and will include about eight office rooms for a space that’s being made to suit an incoming tenant, which will have 15 employees.

The Mohawk Properties Office Building is one part of the South Side Square retail plaza owned by Wade and his partners. Wade said the plaza, which includes a 24,000-square-foot building and a 12,000-square-foot building, is located at 1451 Route 5S and has seen increased weekly customer traffic, including 50 to 60 people daily at its Bourbon Street Wine & Liquor Warehouse tenant. The other current tenants in the plaza include Farmers Insurance, Southside Beverage Beer Store, a 6,000-square-foot beverage center with more than 1,000 craft beer selections, a dry cleaner will soon open there and, in about a month, DomAdi’s Deli will open, a deli business Wade said he and his wife will operate. The deli will be aimed at providing food to employees of all of the businesses on Route 5S, including Beech-Nut, the Target Distribution Center, Alpin Haus, Hill & Markes and Liberty Enterprises.

“We feel this is the most promising corridor for future development based on us being the catalyst of small private investors,” Wade said. “We’re seeing a large number of customers and turnout on the 5S corridor on a daily customer count that continues to encourage us to believe in the enhancement of the area. We have additional properties for more build-to-suit properties. Eight miles down the road is where Dollar General is putting their 750,000-square-foot distribution facility. So, with our investment into the smaller amenities, like dry cleaning, beer, a deli, there’s a need for professional office space. We’ve talked to multiple possible tenants in the past who are looking for new professional office space. We believe this corridor will continue to develop.”

Montgomery County Planning Board member Betty Sanders said Wade makes a valid point. She said she sits on many boards and would like to have more options for locations to hold events. She said the Johnstown-Gloversville Holiday Inn is close, but the Amsterdam area lacks a hotel.

“He’s embarrassed, people want to come out here and he has to send them to Albany, it’s true,” she said. “We used to have the Best Western right downtown in Amsterdam, but it’s [been turned into an assisted living center].”

Montgomery County Senior Planner Amanda Bearcroft said the complaint of a lack of a hotel has been a common one on the county level.

“We have had market studies that have been done and it just hasn’t been in favor of a hotel right now. We’re hoping with all of the improvements that are coming to the city that in the future it would come back as favorable,” she said.

By Chad Fleck

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