By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Ground breaking is planned Monday, Oct. 18, for the Queensbury Hotel’s 6,000-foot expansion that will triple the size of the Adirondack Ballroom.
Currently, hotel general manager Tyler Herrick told The Chronicle, “it’s difficult to do a larger group than 200 people for a wedding” in the Adirondack Room.
When expanded, he said, “We can do a nice wedding with 350 people, with a dance floor and buffet. A plated sit-down dinner, we could do 400 to 450 people depending on the setup. For a reception or gala, without the plated dinner, we can do upwards of 700 people.”
As visualized by Phinney Design Group, the ballroom will also open onto a small outdoor patio across the width of the north side of the addition. “It’ll have some high boys, a place for people to step out if they want,” Mr. Herrick said.
Also added will be a 1,000 square foot banquet production kitchen. Mr. Herrick said it will make it easier for the hotel simultaneously to accommodate banquet events, dining at Park 26 restaurant and Fenimore’s Pub, and hotel room service.
“The ballroom, we talked about originally when we came in here in 2016,” said Mr. Herrick, referring to when Ed Moore bought the hotel and Mr. Herrick and Mr. Moore’s son Zack formed Spruce Hospitality to manage it and other properties.
“We have always seen demand for groups and conventions and weddings,” Mr. Herrick said.
He put the cost of the expansion at $2.5- to $3.5-million. He said $4- to $4.5 million has already been spent on renovations since 2016, including $2 million to update the 123 guest rooms.
The ballroom “is the largest one project, for sure,” Mr. Herrick said.
He said “We are still working on the full story board with Phinney Design,” which has worked on the prior lobby, restaurants and guest room renovations.
The general contractor will be V&H Construction of Fort Edward.
The goal is to complete exterior work while still using the ballroom spaces through December. After January 1, they’ll begin interior work, with an expectation to reopen in June 2022.
With the expansion, Mr. Herrick said they expect to hire 10 full-time team managers, in the kitchen and in service and sales, plus 15 part-time staff for functions and housekeeping.
Mr. Herrick said they are booking the space already. The New York State Police Chiefs Convention will return at the end of July 2022, and the New York State Association of the Hearing Impaired is coming in September 2022. There are “three or four” weddings booked as well.
“For us, the weddings are going to be great,” Mr. Herrick said. “But the biggest impact is going to be more conferences — groups that arrive on Sunday, peak on Monday and Tuesday and leave Wednesday.
“We have done a good job filling our weekends. This will help to spread that out. A lot of New York associations, they need the conferences — for continuing education — but it’s also a huge revenue source for them, with sponsors and vendors.”
Zack Moore said, “The team gets calls all the time for using the space. There was a group that just went to the Gideon Putnam (in Saratoga) because we couldn’t.”
Also, Mr. Moore said, “We like the idea that we can host the Festival of Trees, and still do a Thanksgiving dinner. This expansion will allow us to do that.”
The expansion will eliminate the small Saratoga and Washington Rooms to widen the side hallway and accommodate “pre-event space,” Mr. Herrick said.
The Warren Room at the far west of the building will remain, with some updates.
Updates are also planned for the Albany Room, the barbershop and other small breakout spaces on the east side of the building. The Beauty Bar will expand its salon services into the former barbershop that closed earlier this year.
They’d planned the expansion for 2020, but the pandemic postponed it. “It may be costing us a little more, but the hope is, coming out of the pandemic in summer of 2022 we will have a beautiful new 6,000-foot addition that’s ready to go,” said Mr. Herrick.
“We’re excited,” Mr. Herrick said. “We wish some of the pricing of materials weren’t what they were just now, but the numbers still make sense.”
Zack Moore said, “We’ve had a great summer, and it’s turning out to be an awesome fall. Our team is so phenomenal, from the office to the sales staff to the people working in the bar. Everyone is doing a phenomenal job.”
Mr. Herrick noted, “The Adirondack Room is the only one we haven’t touched since we came in. It’s still in the 1980 style from when the previous owners had it. Our story has always been to restore the 1925 historical elegance, but with a modern flair.”
He points to the original Ballroom and Gold Room, which still have the original chandeliers and the newly revealed hardwood flooring.
Rooftop bar: ‘It’s going to happen’
So, after the Queensbury Hotel completes its 6,000-foot Adirondack Room expansion, what’s next?
“The rooftop bar — it’s going to happen,” replied Tyler Herrick, the hotel’s general manager.
“The return on investment for the ballroom, adding versatility, it’s the thing that had to happen first.”
In a separate interview, Zack Moore makes the same point. “Of course, everyone is always asking about the rooftop bar. Hopefully, this project then funds that.”
Mr. Herrick said, “There are some logistical hurdles regarding the roof, but we want it.”
He envisions two elements of the roof space — an open space to accommodate events, even wedding ceremonies, and the other a full-fledged bar for public or private gatherings.
— Cathy DeDe
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