Hotel study moves forward

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday will consider approving a roughly $20,000 contract with a Chicago firm to study whether placing a new hotel in the county is feasible.

County Planning Director James Mraz last week reminded the board’s Economic Development and Environment Committee that his department sent out requests for proposals to professional consultants. Firms were asked to prepare a hotel/motel market assessment and demand analysis. Proposals were due July 19, and the county received five.

Mraz recommended the committee award a $19,500 contract to Hunden Strategic Partners of Chicago. That contract was supported and the full board will consider final approval Monday at the County Office Building.

The recommendation to hire the Chicago consultant is based upon the content of proposals and phone interviews, Mraz said.

Funding for the agreement comes from a marketing project contained in the 2017 county capital budget.

Local officials expressed in a new hotel at Fulton County’s Vision 2026 Summit last Oct. 25. About 90 community leaders, elected officials, business leaders and members of the general public attended the summit in order to participate in development of Fulton County’s vision statement. The analysis will evaluate the local/regional market to determine if there is a need or demand for a hotel or motel and if it is fiscally possible.

The analysis will assess the market demand and feasibility of a hotel or motel around the Great Sacandaga Lake, as lake, as well areas that include Vail Mills and near the village of Northville.

Mraz said Monday the county may learn by the start of 2018 whether erecting a new hotel is doable in Fulton County.

“We would hope to be done by the end of the year,” Mraz said. “That’s the target time. But like everything else, it’s subject to a variety of factors.”

The other four proposals Fulton County received were from firms from Cleveland, New York City and Alexandria, Va., with the highest costing $32,500. Hunden Strategic Partners is due to put in 147 hours of work for Fulton County, its proposal indicates.

“That’s their estimate,” Mraz said. “They’re going to be making two visits.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.