A local real-estate development team sparked controversy after proposing an $80 million construction project in the heart of the village of New Paltz. The project would include a boutique hotel and condominium complex in an unoccupied area of woodlands nicknamed “the pit,” located behind Hasbrouck Park.
Lalo Group Inc., whose offices are located on North Front Street in New Paltz, is in charge of the project’s development. According to Luis Martinez, head of Lalo Group, the hotel and condominium complex would include 81 condominiums, 96 hotel rooms, a banquet hall, a spa and a rooftop restaurant. The complex would also provide 400 enclosed parking spaces for tenants and visitors. In terms of condominium residents and hotel guests, Martinez and his team hope to target older people as well as young professionals in the area.
Despite previous court charges for falsifying business records brought against Lalo Group this April, Martinez does not believe the company’s past will impact this project. He said that these issues were resolved and have yet to present a problem for this project.
Construction on the proposed hotel and condominium complex would take anywhere from a year to 17 months, and the process could employ approximately 325 to 350 temporary construction workers, Martinez said. The complex itself would employ over 100 workers, potentially including locals and SUNY students. Martinez cited these ideas, as well as increased revenue for local business owners from hotel traffic, as major factors in this project’s favor.
“I’ve spoken to many people in favor of the project,” he said.
Yet Lalo Group’s proposal isn’t without controversy.
Passionate New Paltz locals have taken to social media to express their discontent with the company’s proposal. According to resident Valerie Erwin, Lalo Group’s project would be an “architectural blight” on the rich, historical character of the village of New Paltz.
“We already have a local hotel which fits our historical character and is priced for the elite,” Erwin said, referencing Mohonk Mountain House, a luxury resort overlooking Lake Mohonk.
More residents agreed, voicing their opposition to the project on the community Facebook page. Many were concerned about the scale of the project, including its large and visible parking lot, as well as potential congestion as a result of an influx of traffic.
Martinez claimed that his plan to enclose the parking lot will keep the lot contained and out of sight. He did not comment on traffic concerns.
Meanwhile, other residents are in support of the company’s proposal. Mohammed Serdah, a SUNY New Paltz alum and owner of a local accounting firm, called Lalo Group’s proposed project a great potential asset to the community. Serdah has lived and worked in the village for his entire life and said he cannot think of a better use for the unoccupied plot of land.
Village Mayor Tim Rogers said he could support the concept of a hotel in the village, but Lalo Group’s proposed project in its current state needs revision to suit New Paltz’s unique community. Rogers echoed the concerns of many residents, including traffic complications and aesthetic issues.
For this proposal to move forward, village officials will have to change zoning laws in place for this plot of land, according to an article from the Times Herald-Record. Lalo Group does not plan to request a tax break for this project.