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Clayton planners approve hotel site plan

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CLAYTON — The Clayton Harbor Hotel project hit another milestone Thursday night with town planners unanimously approving the site plan and special use permit for the “luxury hotel and conference center” proposed on the former Frink America site.

Nobody spoke during the formal public hearing that was held after a presentation by the Buffalo-based developers Krog Corp. and Hart Hotels at the Clayton Opera House. Nearly 100 people attended the presentation.

Once the zoning and building permits are issued, Krog is expected to break ground in April. The developers hope to have the four-story facility open by Memorial Day 2014.

A payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that gives the hotel owners a 50 percent property tax break over 15 years was approved by taxing entities at the end of January.

The ownership of roughly 7 acres of the 8.4-acre Frink site was officially transferred last week to Clayton Harbor Hotel LLC — formed through a 50/50 partnership between Krog and Hart Hotels — by Clayton’s Local Development Corp. with the consent of the town government.

Since signing a land disposition agreement with Clayton in December, the developers have been making scheduled payments of $210,000 toward the purchase of the $2.1 million property.

Clayton maintains ownership of the remaining 1.37 acres of the former brownfield site, which includes the riverwalk and the future site of public transient dock facilities.

The developers plan to separate the public riverwalk from their property with a picket fence.

It will be about 30 inches high and will have several access points.

Krog is the general contractor for the $22.5 million project and Hart Hotels will be in charge of the planning, marketing, management and operation of the 105-room hotel and conference center.

The full-service destination hotel will include a 275- to 300-seat ballroom and conference center, an 80- to 100-seat restaurant, an indoor pool with a Jacuzzi, a business center and a fitness room with a view of the St. Lawrence River. There also will be two large outdoor fire pits.

The developers said the Clayton Harbor Hotel will be open year-round and that they eventually hope to achieve a “four-diamond” rating from AAA.

Clayton Harbor Hotel plans to hire roughly 90 employees, most of them locally, and the developers have been contacting a number of local contractors for the construction project.

The developers said construction activities normally would take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Additionally, the developers are planning an approximately $3.5 million project to build a dozen townhouses on the east side of the Frink site.

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