CATSKILL — The former Quality Inn on Route 23B at Exit 21 in Catskill is scheduled to be demolished this month, following court action and some delays with the contractor.
Greene County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Rene VanSchaack updated the Catskill Town Board on the Quality Inn project and a separate project on Route 23B on Tuesday. The adjacent property is an eight-lot, 64-acre parcel where the IDA demolished four houses in September. A garage on the parcel was left intact.
Kolath Hotels & Casinos Inc., the former owner, had been attempting to retrieve the Quality Inn property after it foreclosed in 2012, citing their back taxes were minimal in comparison to the value of the property.
Kolath owed approximately $800,000 in back taxes, VanSchaack said in October.
The property was transferred to the IDA in September 2017. The U.S. Northeastern District Court ruled in favor of the IDA on Sept. 28 following an appeal Kolath filed on Aug, 16, 2017, allowing the site plans to move forward.
The court found that Kolath failed to produce competent evidence to support its case, Greene County Attorney Ed Kaplan said Wednesday.
“They failed to meet the burden and prove they received less than the reasonable equivalent value in exchange for the transfer of the property to the IDA.”
Kolath had also not absolved their debt, Kaplan said.
Kolath has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Second Circuit, VanSchaack told the board, but the IDA is sticking to its game plan. The appeal was filed on Nov. 27.
“We are absolutely moving forward,” he said.
The IDA had initially planned to have the hotel down before Thanksgiving, VanSchaack said in October.
“We are just waiting for the contractor,” VanSchaack told the board. Bronze Contracting of Remsen, New York, the IDA’s choice for the project, has been busy with other jobs.
VanSchaack did not want to put the project back out to bid because the IDA received a good price for the work.
The demolition will cost approximately $148,000, VanSchaack said.
“There’s still disposal costs,” he said. “Altogether, we’re looking at around $400,000.”
The county received $250,000 from the Restore New York program in February to help cover the costs, VanSchaack said in October.
Another reason VanSchaack does not want to rebid the project is the county must use the Restore New York grant by the end of March.
Hotels have already been contacting the IDA about the property, Van Schaack said.
“We will be putting out an RFP for the property,” he said.
The request for proposals will allow the IDA to have some control over the marketing that the hotel employs.
“We want something that will be good for tourism and generate sales tax,” VanSchaack said.
Town Supervisor Doreen Davis voiced her support for a hotel coming to Catskill.
“I’m hopeful for a hotel — that’s everyone’s priority,” she said. “I hope we can attract commercial interest that will enhance our tax base.”
The hotel took three weeks to clean out, VanSchaack said, adding about 70 percent of the items were repurposed. The adjacent property, known as the Exit 21 West project, will not be marketed until after the Quality Inn site, Van Schaack said.
The site cost the IDA $45,000 for demolition and $9,000 for grading, seeding and mowing, Van Schaack said.
The eight lots will be merged into three. One will have the existing garage and the other two will be open to developers.
VanSchaack will come before the town planning board to do the lot line adjustment in January.
Businesses have already expressed interest in leasing the garage, VanSchaack said, although the town may continue to use the site as a staging area for construction equipment.
The IDA will not request formal proposals for businesses for the West site, VanSchaack said, adding that businesses are often referred to the IDA by realtors or the state.