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Hampton Inn eyeing Canton for new hotel

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CANTON - The national hotel chain Hampton Inn is interested in building a 55-room hotel on state Route 11 adjacent to the University Plaza.

A preliminary site plan for the three-story building was reviewed last week by the village Planning Board.

“We looked at a very preliminary layout for where it might go,” said Planning Board Chair Timothy J. Danehy. “When more detailed plans are available they would get sent to the county Planning Board for its review.”

Amy Franco, an engineer from Clough, Harbour & Associates, Syracuse, met with planning board members to discuss the preliminary plan. An aerial photograph was distributed which shows the proposed footprint of the site on the eastern edge of the village.

Canton Code Enforcement Officer Russell B. Lawrence IV said developers from Hampton Inn would like to build a 15,000 square-foot hotel and 95-space parking lot on the eastern side of the shopping plaza.

The University Plaza is part of a 23-acre site owned by Galileo Appollo I LLC, Scottsdale, Az. The property is within village limits and has access to village water and sewer service.

If the hotel project materializes, the parcel would likely be subdivided, Mr. Danehy said Monday.

“We look forward to getting more details on it,” he said.

Guests will be provided with a Contintental breakfast, but the hotel will not house its own restaurant or bar, Mr. Danehy said.

Most Hampton Inn hotels are independently owned franchises, although some are owned by the Hilton Hotels Corp. The chain has more than 1,800 hotels, mostly in the United States.

In 2007, an 85-room Hampton Inn was being planned for the village of Potsdam on a 2.3 acre site next to Mama Lucia’s Restaurant. The project was later scrapped.

Canton Mayor David P. Curry said he believes Canton could support a fourth hotel.

Two of the existing hotels are within the village limits: Best Western University Inn and Cascade Inn, while Comfort Suites, Route 11, is just outside the village within the town.

“It would be good for Canton. Sometimes people have to stay as far away as Watertown when they can’t find a room here,” Mr. Curry said.

A new hotel would also generate property tax revenue for the village, town, county and Canton school district, as well as additional sales tax money.

Mr. Curry said he would prefer to have a new hotel built downtown, possibly the site of the vacant Jubilee grocery store where parking is already available. The location would help draw customers to Main Street shops and restaurants and increase foot traffic downtown.

Visitors often have trouble finding rooms during busy college weekends such as graduations at the area’s four colleges. People travel to Canton for youth sports tournaments throughout the year. Class reunions and college sporting events also draw guests who need overnight accommodations.

Besides serving visitors associated with St. Lawrence University and SUNY Canton, a new hotel could also generate business from students and families connected to Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam, about 10 miles down Route 11 in neighboring Potsdam.

The University Plaza houses five stores: Rex Hardware, Fashion Craze, Canton Flea Market, Dollar General and Ye Olde Liquors. Two restaurants, Subway, Asian Buffet, and a laundromat, The Laundry Chute, are also in the plaza.

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