Developers pitch plan to turn former box factory into a three-story hotel

Partners in the Woodstock Way Hotel went before the Village of New Paltz Planning Board last month to discuss plans for Water Street Trails Hotel, a 26-room, three-story inn on property located at 11 Water Street. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

Partners in the Woodstock Way Hotel went before the Village of New Paltz Planning Board last month to discuss plans for Water Street Trails Hotel, a 26-room, three-story inn on property located at 11 Water Street.

The plans for the hotel, which would be built alongside the Wallkill River and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, would include replacing the sprawling former box factory currently standing on the .82-acre property with a three-story hotel with a little over 7,500- square feet per floor. A 340-square-foot kitchen for a small cafe and lounge is also part of the proposed new build.

“It’s not a dining room, per se,” said co-developer Ryan Giuliani. “But there will be some food and beverage services for the guests.”

Natural colors and textures are also in the works in the current plan, along with a possible solar roof garden and pollinator garden.

Giuliani and co-developer Jesse Halliburton opened the Woodstock Way Hotel, but they’ve also seen success in other areas. Hallburton is the owner and principal broker of Prime Real Estate Group in New Jersey, while Giuliani is president and co-founder of boutique hospitality firm Giuliani Social alongside his wife, Mary Giuliani.

The current plans include 30 parking spaces, which Giuliani said should be adequate even when the hotel is full, primarily because of the location in the heart of the village.

“We have seen in most cases, groups of people that are staying in a room together are sharing a car,” he said. “A lot of these hospitality developments in the area that are taking over large swaths of land and doing cabins and…you need to get in the car to go anywhere. But our thought process is people come to (the hotel) they’re parking on our property. Parking in New Paltz is difficult already, so there’s going to be no need for them to take it off the property when they can walk through the attractions in the village.”

Planning Board Chairman John Litton addressed the need for a drainage plan for the property.

“I’m sure you’re well aware of the drainage problems in that area,” he said. “It doesn’t always drain, and in the winter time it forms a wonderful ice rink.”

The proposed development was before the Planning Board for the first time, but at least one member expressed enthusiasm for the project.

“Well, this will be a welcome change,” said Planning Board member Denis McGee. “That’s an extremely important part of New Paltz. Right now it’s an eyesore…And what you guys are going to do is a welcome, welcome improvement to that property. And thanks a lot for doing it.”

Board members classified the project as an unlisted action under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act.

The project still needs to include a revised environmental assessment form (EAF), and may also need to go before the Village Zoning Board of Appeals if a zoning variance is sought. The property is part of the Gateway (G) District, which according to village zoning code, “corresponds with lands bounded by Wallkill Valley Rail Trail on the west, Water Street to the north and northeast, Mohonk Avenue to the east, Pencil Hill Road to the east, and Plains Road to the east.”

The next meeting of the New Paltz Village Planning Board is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2.