GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Queensbury Hotel has been around for a long time in downtown Glens Falls. Since opening in 1926, the historic home-away-from-home is no stranger to renovation and growth. As of the start of 2022, a new project is underway to bring more events, and visitors, to the downtown venue.
“For most of its history, if something happened in Glens Falls, it happened at this hotel,” said Queensbury Hotel co-owner Zack Moore. “We’re always excited to connect it back to the community.”
Workers were hard at work on Tuesday inside a new, 6,000-square-foot ballroom under construction on the hotel’s north side, facing its parking lot. The $1.75 million project adds 5,200 square feet to a smaller pre-existing event space, creating a new room primed to host weddings, conferences, and whatever else might give as many as 400 people the need to find a place to gather.
That previous event space was part of the last big expansion the hotel received, dating back to the 1970s. The new ballroom is adding partially to expanded space, and partially to an original segment of the hotel. The Queensbury Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as Historic Hotels of America. It can be a challenge to create something new that feels in lockstep with the building’s history.
“If you do something like this, it has to look different, but at the same time, you want to marry it into the style of the rest of the hotel,” said Moore, whose family has owned the hotel since 2016. “You don’t want it to look like you took something new and tried to make it look like it was from the original 1926.”
Hotel marketing director Eric Rottingen says that the ballroom will look a bit more modern than some of the oldest parts of the hotel. The goal is to tie the old and the new together, rather than make guests feel as though they’re suddenly in a different world.
The plan is for the Queensbury Hotel’s new ballroom to open by the start of July. Construction is ahead of schedule in some places, and behind in others, according to Tyler Herrick, President of hotel operator Spruce Hospitality. The $1.75M price tag will likely look more like $3 million when all is said and done, taking into account tables, chairs, new kitchen equipment, and all of the other little details that make an event hall shine.
That price tag has been inflated by supply chain issues, stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, the Moore family saw the value in adding the event space. Prior to the pandemic, about 60% of the Queensbury Hotel’s business model stemmed from group gatherings and conventions. Events like Glens Falls Brewfest, which has since moved venues, called the hotel home from its old, smaller event room. With more people ready to gather in groups again, the project felt more fitting than simply adding to the 123 rooms that the hotel offers.
“Long-term, I think people are still going to get married,” said Herrick. “We just finished a very strong first quarter, thanks to a lot of things that Warren County has done, and events like Ice Castles and skiing on West Mountain. Our group market was down, but for weddings, it’s above 2019.”
Those numbers are expected to only intensify when things begin to get busier in the city, starting around May. Summer concerts and arts festivals, and events like the Adirondack Film Festival, leave no shortage of action for the hotel’s big new room to capitalize on, once it’s done.
The hotel filed for a tax exemption from the Warren-Washington Counties IDA, for $3.8 million. That’s on top of a pilot program the hotel took up in 2016, when the Moore family purchased the building. Since then, the entire interior has gotten a facelift, from rooms to the in-building bar and restaurant.
The work at the Queensbury Hotel will continue into at least June, or possibly July. Although the new space impinges on the hotel parking lot, there will only be a net loss of about five parking spaces. For hotel management, adding a new place to celebrate a special day is exactly in line with being located at the heart of downtown Glens Falls.
“We do a lot of what I would call day catering, one-time shots,” said Rottingen. “A lot of local corporations, who don’t need rooms. The local corporations need places to hold their events, and we are happy to be that.”