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Potsdam hotel proposal encounters obstacles

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POTSDAM - A Potsdam couple’s plan to build a new hotel in the village has encountered financial obstacles.

G2G Inc. planned to build a four-story, 60-room Country Hearth Inn & Suites. The 45,000-square-foot, $7.4 million hotel with a 300-person banquet facility was to be either at 17 Willow St., next to Mama Lucia’s 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. During a May interview, Mrs. Gerrish said they were still finalizing financing for the project, and expected to know of its definite reality by the summer.

She had hoped 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.

But at Thursday night’s village planning board meeting, Planning and Development Director Frederick J. Hanss said the financing for the project had fallen through.

G2G had planned to secure financing through Community Bank, Mr. Hanss said. But the bank recently decided it was not going to issue loans for hotel projects.

“It’s an absolute shame,” Mr. Hanss said.

With private financing falling through, public incentives do too, Mr. Hanss said. His office had lined up approximately $900,000 in state grants. But those public incentives require private leverage.

“They don’t want to be in there for the whole project,” Mr. Hanss said of the state. “They want to make sure there’s some private sector investment as well.”

The project may see new life if G2G can find a new private source of funding, Mr. Hanss said. Mr. and Mrs. Gerrish could not be reached for comment Thursday night on their future plans for the project.

Mrs. Gerrish previously said 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 is a top priority in Potsdam’s 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.

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