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Rooms, with a view to the future


Valatie development group plans to improve rental units at old hotel

VALATIE – The Valatie Local Development Corporation has purchased the apartment building on Main Street known as the U.S. Hotel, and Jason Nastke, president of the development corporation, says the building will continue to offer rental units as it has in recent years.

As for rumors about the old hotel becoming some sort of halfway house, Mr. Nastke said, “It never was and never will be.”

The Valatie Local Development Corporation (LDC) is a non-profit, quasi-governmental agency formed in the village in 2002, Mr. Nastke said in an interview at the Hotel this week. There are five people on the board, and it is funded with rent money from the properties the corporation own and a loan portfolio, as well as state grant money that helped the organization buy the old Train Depot on the corner of Main Street and Route 9 a few years ago.

Mr. Nastke, who is also the village clerk and the Republican Commissioner on the county Board of Elections, said the LDC took out mortgages to pay the $250,000 for the U.S. Hotel, which he says is being paid off by rents from the 12 apartments.

“We did not put taxpayers’ dollars into this project,” he said.

“It’s been in disrepair for a long time,” Mr. Nastke said of the building, which was privately owned until the LDC bought it. The LDC board plans to make improvements and possibly have the building house offices as well as apartments.

The first big plan Mr. Nastke has is to take down the crumbling garage in the building’s parking lot and turn the space into public parking for the village.

Town Supervisor Pat Grattan, who lives a few houses down and across the street from the building, said he was thrilled when the LDC bought the building earlier this year and was happy to see the work they doing on it. “That’s a big building and the improvements are welcome.”

According to Dominick Lizzi’s book “Valatie: The Forgotten History,” the hotel is over 150 years old and once housed a tavern and hotel called the White Inn. In the 1920s it had a two-story front porch for gatherings.

Mr. Nastke said the LDC hopes to make the building more energy efficient, though right now as landlords, the organization is dealing with leaking pipes, electrical work and a tenant’s missing cat. The LDC has also decided to remove the picture window in the front of the building and replace it with three windows, which is in keeping with the original look of the structure.

He stressed that the opportunity to buy the building came up at the right time, with mortgage rates low and rent prices stable. He said the LDC had looked into buying the property several times over the last 10 years.

The LDC was formed to help with economic development in the village, Mr. Nastke said. It purchased the Train Depot ago with state grant money for business improvement, and uses the rent from the two businesses in that space to make upgrades to the building.

Mr. Nastke said the goal for the U.S. Hotel is to one day have it return to private ownership.

He said the LDC board meets once a month and the meetings are open to the public.

“For years the U.S. Hotel has been a problem in our efforts to revitalize Main Street. I am grateful the members of the Valatie LDC were able to provide the solution” said Valatie Mayor Gary Strevell in an email. “As you can see, they aren’t wasting any time in starting the improvements.”

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com.

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