After a 13 month review process, the Hyde Park planning board unanimously approved a plan to build a 138 room hotel on the north end of the Culinary Institute's campus. Our John Wagner has the story.
HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- The Culinary Institute is in talks with Hyatt Hotels to build an upscale hotel and conference center, including a spa and restaurant. It will be on C.I.A. land, but it won't be C.I.A. property.
"The goal is to have a real Adirondack feel to the building and have lots of stone and natural colors and have it really blend in," said Rebecca Oetjen, facilities project manager for the Culinary Institute. "While we will not be operating the facility, it's the Culinary's intent to have a say in what this ultimately looks like."
"Our students won't work there, we won't teach any classes there," explained Stephan Hengst, director of communications for the Culinary Institute. "It's really just added infrastructure to help the town attract more visitors, more tourists."
With around a quarter of a million visitors each year, the Culinary Institute is the third most popular tourist destination in Dutchess County. And the hotel won't just bring in visitors.
"Throughout the construction process, it's going to create 80 new jobs for the town," said Hengst. "And once the hotel is opened it's actually going to create up to 200 new positions on-site at the property itself."
At the north end of campus they've begun work on new student housing and just north of there, the upscale hotel will sit around one hundred feet off the cliffs edge, with a great view of the Hudson River.
"For the first time since the early 1900s, this new hotel is actually going to be adding to the tax base to the town," said Hengst.
The non-profit college is leasing out their tax-exempt land for 49 years to a developer, who will meet with the Hyde Park planning board soon to work out how the construction will be taxed.
"We expect it to take about two years for them to build," said Hengst. "But the great thing is that it's going to be much more convenient for families, food enthusiasts, professionals, when they're coming to visit the C.I.A."