Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

We'll all be able to do that if Harbalwant Singh's vision for Route 66 in Greenport is realized. Singh is redeveloping the old V & O Press building on Route 66 in Greenport, and he appeared before the Columbia County Industrial Development Agency this morning to present his project, called Greenport Crossing, and request a tax abatement. Several months ago, the Greenport Planning Board approved a subdivision of the property, and today Singh talked about the project in terms of Parcel One and Parcel Two. Parcel One, which will be developed first, will consist of an A & W restaurant with a drive-thru (more fast food in Greenport), a twelve-pump gas station, and an "upscale" liquor store. Parcel Two consists of a hotel and a family entertainment center.

The original plan was to redevelop the entire V & O building into a hotel and entertainment center, but today Singh indicated that only part of the old factory building would be used for the entertainment center and the rest would be demolished to make way for a hotel to be built from the ground up. He also announced that a franchise agreement was already in place with Comfort Inn, and the new three-story, 80-room hotel would be a Comfort Suites, with an indoor pool and a fitness center. 

The hotel will be built behind the family entertainment center, which will be located in what will remain of the old V & O building and will include the following things:
  • Bowling--4 "boutique" lanes; 12 "upscale" lanes; and 4 mini lanes. (Singh said that he would discourage bowling leagues in favor of drawing a "totally different crowd from a 30-mile radius.")
  • Laser tag arena
  • Laser frenzy
  • Rope course
  • Bumper cars
  • Carousel
  • Climbing wall
  • "Upscale" arcade games
  • Birthday party rooms
  • Sports bar and grill
  • Event space to accommodate 300 to 350 people
Singh used the term upscale frequently in describing the project and predicted that "people won't believe they're in the country--in Columbia County." Singh expressed his belief that Greenport Crossing would cause a "ripple effect," leading to this result: "Route 66 will be totally Route 9 in Poughkeepsie." (That's probably Route 9 south of the Mid-Hudson Bridge.)

Having presented the project, Singh made his request: a 100 percent tax abatement on Parcel Two for twenty years. According to Singh, the hotel cannot be financially feasible without it. He doesn't seek a tax abatement for Parcel One, which he says will pay $31,374 in property taxes each year. He also claims that the whole project will bring in $704,030 in sales tax each year, half of which will go to Columbia County. The project is predicted to create 113 jobs and have an annual payroll of $1.91 million.

The question was asked if the IDA had ever done a twenty-year zero tax abatement before, and the answer was no. IDA attorney Ted Guterman suggested that IDA members should consider whether the deviation was worth the reward--the reward being a franchise hotel in Columbia County. Singh's request will be considered at the next IDA meeting, scheduled for sometime in April. This morning, the IDA passed an inducement resolution, agreeing to consider financial assistance for the project, including possible bonding.      


  1. No more free rides. We need everyone paying their fair share of taxes now. The expense of the economy can no longer be heaped on the backs of the few. That goes for "non profits" too. If they can't make profit enough to pay taxes than find another county.

  2. nothing sez upscale better than comfort inn and a&w rootbeer! bumper cars and arcade games? watch out chatham....we got a year 'round county fair in the making!

    vmulford is right: no giveaways, bonds, financial assistance or anything.
    if it makes financial sense to do this it doesn't need our financial cents to make it happen.

  3. Really, he wants route 66 to become like Route 9 in Poughkeepsie and he sees this as a good thing? Has he been to Fairview Avenue? I would be sad to see yet another thoroughfare through Greenport (as well as entryway to the city of Hudson) become a hideous string of shopping plazas and gas stations. One is more than enough.

    When I first heard of this project to re-purpose this building I was getting excited to see what someone would to do transform the existing building into a hotel. I was expecting (hoping) something creative and inventive, but alas it seems its easier and/or cheaper to bulldoze and build new cookie cutter buildings. Maybe the IDA should add a component to their applications for tax abatements for reusing existing structures.

  4. Have all of you forgotten what it is to be a child?

    What joy and excitement looks like a little boy or girl's face?

    When you're 5, 6, 7 or 10 "upscale" is not what makes you giggle, smile, or enjoy.

  5. I believe Singh lives in the Delmar/Albany area so this probably sounds exciting to him - considering - and he probably won't be moving here anytime soon either.

  6. Im a Columbia County resident and I've got a background in Urban Planning, as I study environmental design at the University of Buffalo. This proposal seems hackneyed. I don't see anywhere near the market or demand for this project. Who wants a hotel in the middle of an industrial tract. It seems that phase 2 is a pipe dream, and he is a greedy developer/schemer with no real plans to proceed with phase 2. Therefore he is adding gas pumps and fast food to a busy intersection, and most likely loopholing out of tax payments.