POTSDAM A new hotel could open next year if a Potsdam couples plan comes to fruition.
G2G Inc. plans to build a four-story, 60-room Country Hearth Inn & Suites in Potsdam. The 45,000-square-foot, $7.4 million hotel with a 300-person banquet facility will be either at 17 Willow St., next to Mama Lucias Restaurant, or in Commerce Park, off Route 11B, according to G2G President Rebecca A. Gerrish.
Mrs. Gerrish and her husband, Jeffrey A., founded G2G about a year ago. They are still finalizing financing for the hotel, and expect to know for sure about its reality by this summer.
Mrs. Gerrish said she hopes construction could begin later this year, with a 2013 opening date. The hotel would begin operations with four full-time and 19 part-time positions.
A corporate official from Country Hearth has already traveled to Potsdam and approved either location, Mrs. Gerrish said. Country Hearth has more than 50 locations in 22 states, according to its website. There are no other locations listed in New York.
Mrs. Gerrish also works as a reading specialist in the Canton Central School District. She and her husband have shared the dream of building a Potsdam hotel for some time, and decided last year to found G2G and make it a reality. This is their first hotel project.
A new hotel could help make Potsdam a destination, she said.
Were looking to better the community, she said. We dont want Potsdam to be the place you drive through on the way to somewhere else.
G2G picked Country Hearth because of its willingness to adapt to a franchisees wishes. The new location would feature Potsdam sandstone and hire locally where possible, Mrs. Gerrish said.
The village will be working with G2G to secure grant funding for the project. Monday night, the village Board of Trustees unanimously authorized the planning and development office to provide G2G with technical assistance in applying for federal Community Development Block Grant funds administered through the state.
Were obviously happy to do it if we can help, Planning and Development Director Frederick J. Hanss said.
The grant funding would be less than $350,000 and would fund hotel furnishings, Mr. Hanss said. He said Mr. and Mrs. Gerrish were very far along in the process toward building a hotel.
A new hotel is a top priority in Potsdams new Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. Mr. Hanss said families of Potsdam college students often have to travel to Malone or Cornwall, Ontario, to stay overnight during busy weekends.
Its really creating a good opportunity to be retaining some of the lodging business that we may be losing to other communities, Mr. Hanss said of G2Gs plans. For many years, Potsdam has had the goal of seeing a hotel developed.
Mrs. Gerrish also credited the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency and the Small Business Development Center with offering guidance as G2G drew up its plans.
You dont have to be a big conglomerate to do something, she said. The biggest thing I would say is not to give up.