Main Street hotel project back from drawing board

Greg Klein | The Cooperstown CrierThe owners of the building at 124 Main St. submitted a new proposal Monday to the Cooperstown Board of Trustees for their luxury hotel. 

The proposed Main Street hotel at 124 Main St., has been resubmitted to the village. On Monday the village trustees voted to refer the project to the trio of committees that have authority over village buildings and businesses.

The three principals of BTP Cooperstown LLC, Bob Hurley, Tom Lagan and Perra Ferrara, attended the village’s March meeting Monday night at 22 Main St.

Lagan addressed the board and then Teresa Drerup from Altonview Architects of Cooperstown made a presentation involving models and drawings for the proposed hotel, the overall look of Main Street, as well as historic pictures of hotels on Main Street.

Lagan works in Albany, but owns a house in the village and said he wants to relocate here. Hurley owns Subway restaurants in Richfield Springs and Hartwick, and is a regional manager for the chain. Ferrara lives in Otsego County and owns the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum. His wife, Catherine Ferrara, who also attended the meeting, owns the adjacent business, Hard Ball Cafe.

Lagan said the partnership owns everything from vegetable farms to hotels, and they felt a three-story hotel on Main Street could not be profitable.

“A four story hotel could work,” he said, discussing the high-end amenities the 22-unit, 31-room hotel would offer to long-term and weekly customers.

Lagan framed the partnership as wanting to do something for the village and its merchants.

“You have chain hotels out of town luring away all the valuable patrons,” he said. “Our guests, by design, are guaranteed a valeted parking spot and will be here, staying in the village and spending their money.

“We’re going to use local craftsmen, local vendors,” he continued. “I expect Bruce Hall might be able to retire because of us.”

The trustees voted unanimously to be the lead agent on a type-one action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR).

They voted unanimously to refer the project to the three review agencies: the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (HPARB). Drerup is the chair of the HPARB board.

The project will require a height variance and will spend a month or two in committees while the SEQR review also proceeds.

The project was pulled in the fall after concerns about parking spaces and height regulations. However the drawing, models and 100-plus-page plan provided by Altonview Architects showed that most of the historic buildings around the hotel are over the height limit, and would be similar in height to the top of the hotel with its seasonal, roof-top restaurant and pool.

The plan also detailed the parking lot behind the building, with 31 spaces, valet parking and an entrance into the hotel from the parking lot.

In September, BTP Cooperstown bought the building next door to the hotel site, 134 Main St. Lagan announced Monday a sushi restaurant will open soon in that historic building, which shares the alleyway with the hotel site.

The 124 Main St. building, built in 1986, is best known as T.J.’s Restaurant, a business that closed more than a year ago and was replaced by Batter’s Up Restaurant.

In January, in a separate investment, BTP Cooperstown bought the Key Bank building, 103 Main St., which is across the street from the proposal hotel and next to the Hard Ball Cafe.

The board also voted unanimously to pass changes to the vending law. No members of the community attended the public hearing on the changes, which will hold special-event vendors to the same sign and display limits as downtown merchants.

The trustees also voted unanimously to table the proposed law to temporarily raise the state two-percent property tax cap. Mayor Jeff Katz explained that with the budget process almost complete, and the budget flat at zero-percent increase there was no need for the precaution.

The public hearing on the budget will take place April 8 at 5 p.m. at 22 Main St.

The trustees also voted unanimously to honor the varsity girls basketball team by making March 25, “Cooperstown Hawkeyes State Champions Day.” The girls were given the proclamation Wednesday at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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