Hochul visits area to mark start of $30M hotel

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul gathered with local officials and developers Friday to mark the beginning of the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron. Pictured from the left are Kevin Sanvidge, administrative director and CEO for the county Industrial Development Agency; Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost; County Executive Vince Horrigan; state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean; Hochul; Dave Hart, CEO of Hart Hotels; Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown; and Peter Krog, CEO of Krog Corp.

CELORON — One of New York state’s top elected officials visited Celoron on Friday to celebrate the beginning to what she called a transformational project in Chautauqua County.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul paid a visit to the site where the $30-plus million Chautauqua Harbor Hotel will be erected and ready for guests in the summer of 2018. Hochul was joined by local and state officials as well as hotel developers Dave Hart, CEO of Hart Hotels, and Peter Krog, CEO of Krog Corp.

In her remarks, Hochul noted some of the projects going on in Chautauqua County, from the National Comedy Center, which the state invested $5 million, to Jamestown’s downtown revitalization, which the state invested $10 million.

“The first question is where are we going to put all the people coming to Jamestown and Chautauqua County? Today, we answer that question,” Hochul said. “They’re going to stay in a world-class hotel, (and) I say that from personal experience. This is a new beginning … a new era.”

The state is assisting the project through a $1.9 million investment and tax incentives totaling $2.6 million. According to state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, the hotel will bring around 110 jobs and $2 million in payroll locally.

Young credited Hart and Krog for their work to bring a top-notch hotel to the area. Together, Hart and Krog own the 1000 Islands Hotel in Clayton and the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, which was voted last year by USA Today as the best waterfront hotel in the U.S.

“It’s going to create a synergy, an energy and a revitalization,” Young said. “We always have known that Chautauqua County is a very special place. We have Chautauqua Lake, which is the jewel of our county, and it has brought visitors from all over the world. Now it’s time to take tourism and that economic growth to the next level, and I believe this hotel will do that.”

Hart, who owns and operates 16 hotels in New York, Vermont and Maine, acknowledged that state assistance was critical for the project. He also credited the work of his partner in Krog, the county Industrial Development Agency team as well as Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell.

“It’ll be our mission to deliver on all the high expectations (in) job creation, increased tax base and regional economic growth,” he said. “I can tell you from our other hotels, they are really contributors to the region.”

Krog said they’re making an effort to bring in as many local contractors and businesses as possible to construct the hotel. He said Industrial Welding and Steel will be erecting steel next week. He also said they’re looking to work with Artone for interior furniture.

“There’s many local people that we are working with, and we make an effort to work with as many local people as we can,” Krog said.

Spending much of her life in Erie County, Hochul said Chautauqua County was her place to get away. She called the area a place of “fun and joy.”

“I love seeing Chautauqua County coming back,” she said.

In a statement Friday regarding the groundbreaking, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the hotel project is one of the largest private-sector, tourism-based developments in Chautauqua County.

“Chautauqua Lake is one of Western New York State’s greatest tourism assets and by building these high-quality accommodations, we are showcasing the region’s unique waterfront areas to attract even more visitors and revenue,” Cuomo said. “Our investments to enhance Western New York’s tourism assets, including the National Comedy Center opening next year in Jamestown, help drive economic growth throughout the region.”

Goodell, R-Jamestown, said Celoron and the Jamestown area are exploding with growth and development. County Executive Vince Horrigan, meanwhile, said the investment from the private sector and the state are making a difference in Chautauqua County.

“The best day is not only today, but they are ahead,” Horrigan said.