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Boutique hotel for Narrowsburg moves forward

By Fritz Mayer
May 3, 2011

It appears that plans to build a boutique hotel in Narrowsburg are moving ahead; it should be clear if the project will get a green light by July 3, which is the newly approved deadline for the closing on the sale of the former Narrowsburg Central School in the hamlet in Narrowsburg.

Developer Ilwon Kang, who agreed to purchase the school in December 2010 for $700,000, asked the Sullivan West Board of Education to extend the closing date by 60 days. At a board meeting on April 26, the board voted to grant the extension.

The board also voted to accept Kang’s offer of $70,000 to buy the 14.3 acres of woods and sports fields across the street from the school. Kang has said the he would use the parcel for parking. With gas drilling still considered a possibility in the area, the board decided to hold onto the mineral rights to the property.

Dr. Ken Hilton, superintendent of the school district, said the board explained to Kang that they have an interest in continuing to use the baseball field at the site, especially in light of the fact that on March 22 the public voted down the capital spending plan put forward, which would have allowed for the creation of a baseball field at the high school in Lake Huntington. Kang said that he would work with the district, and there should be enough room to accommodate both needs.

Jane Luchsinger, president of the Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce, also said that organization expressed a desire that the baseball field remain, and Kang seemed amenable to the suggestion. She said he has been very cooperative.

Kang said that he has been in discussions with Hilton World Wide, which is the parent company of Hampton Inn, about whether that brand would be appropriate for the facility being planned at the school site. The proposed hotel would have up to 100 beds.

Luschinger, who has been a supporter of the project since its inception, said she is still optimistic that it will come to fruition. She said, however, that a hotel of such a large size might have a lot of empty rooms in the winter.

Kang said, “We will go through an extensive feasibility study to the satisfaction of Hilton, as well as my company to determine if a 50-unit hotel or a 100-unit hotel will work at the site, and we’re going through that process right now.”

He said the project is also dependent to some degree on the conclusion of the re-zoning process that is now taking place in the Town of Tusten; he said it is not yet clear when that process might be complete.