Builder plans hotel near Amtrak train station in Rensselaer
RENSSELAER — With the land and financing in place, Bill Brayton said he’s already getting calls from potential partners about his company’s plan to build what would be this city’s only hotel. He envisions his new building directly across the street from the busy Amtrak train station and with a clear view of Albany’s skyline above the Hudson River.
“We had a dialogue with the city as developers,” said Brayton, who runs the nearby Brayton Construction firm with his brother Bob.
The $15 million hotel will sit on a 2-acre parcel the Braytons own just west of the train station at 11 Fourth Ave. There is currently a Quonset hut-style storage building on the site.
Brayton said he envisions a five- or six-story, 110-room name-brand hotel, with a banquet hall on top that would offer visitors a commanding view of the Albany skyline.
His plans were previously reported in the Albany Business Review.
Brayton said he is working with an engineer and surveyor to prepare the site and hopes to approach city officials within a few months to get the site “go-ahead” for a hotel.
Also needed, he said, is support from the city’s Industrial Development Agency, which can grant breaks on sales and property taxes.
The Amtrak train station is the nation’s eighth busiest, with more than 640,000 travelers a year.
Many are heading to cultural, business or political events across the river in Albany, so building a hotel next to the train station makes sense, Brayton said.
Demand may also come from people visiting the Albany Molecular and Regeneron health science facilities just east of Rensselaer.
Additionally, hotel space in downtown Albany is limited, with people coming into the city often staying in Colonie, a good 20 minutes away, compared to the five-minute drive from Rensselaer.
Guests could walk across the tracks on Herrick Street and reach the hotel through a gated pedestrian walkway off the street, Brayton said.
Rensselaer has seen a lot of real estate activity in recent years, with affordable housing and condos being built, he said.
Their company already operates the Bell Top Apartments on Lawrence Street. They are also proposing to turn a warehouse they own at a former BASF chemical site into a cannabis cultivation facility.
However, these plans are subject to the ongoing state approval process for such operations.
The 187,000-square-foot building at 2 Rensselaer Avenue was once part of BASF’s sprawling chemical plant.
[email protected] 518 454 5758 @RickKarlinTU