BELMONT, N.Y. – The Allegany County Industrial Development Agency (ACIDA) has launched the marketing of an important business site at the crossroads of I-86 and Rt. 19 as the “Gateway to Allegany County” to meet expressed demand from local colleges for quality lodging and by visitors and travelers for food, fuel and retail opportunities.
“We consider the Crossroads site to be a secret gem along the I-86 corridor, providing a gateway to our three major higher education institutions – Alfred University, Alfred State College and Houghton College -- numerous business opportunities, and our many recreational and visitor attractions,” said ACIDA Chairman Jack W. Wood.
The ACIDA recently contracted with HVS, an international hospitality consulting firm, to solicit proposals to develop the Crossroads site as a lodging, food, fuel and retail destination The move comes after several months of discussions between ACIDA representatives and multiple business developers, spurred by the ACIDA’s purchase last August of a key 11-acre property on the Crossroads site. That purchase created an overall 30-acre site fully owned by the ACIDA, thus facilitating the time and steps needed for approval of agreements with prospective developers.
Among the benefits for lodging, food, and fuel establishments, according to Wood, is access to an estimated 12,000 travelers each day, the visiting families of almost 7,000 students at Alfred University, Alfred State College and Houghton College, and the spectators and participants at the $23 million Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex (KPAC) at Houghton College.
“The increasing number of visitors coming to Alfred State creates a demand for quality lodging,” said Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State College. “We host all kinds of visitors from colleagues seeking our advice and wanting to emulate our best practices, to athletic and academic prospects who are attending in record numbers. Institutionally we would support the development and make use of a new hotel option.”
Dr. Charles M. Edmondson, president of Alfred University, noted that almost every activity there is impacted by the shortage of adequate hotels in the immediate area.
“Whether we are gathering our alumni, convening research conferences, having the parents of enrolled students visit campus, or hosting visits from prospective students and their parents, we would benefit from an increase in hotel capacity in our area,” he said.Shirley Mullen, president of Houghton College, said the institution is excited about the prospect of expanding the region’s ability to serve the many visitors who come to Houghton College and the county’s other educational institutions.
“Our new athletic facilities have drawn thousands of first-time visitors to Houghton, in addition to the families and friends of our students,” she said. “We have a great opportunity to invite them into the larger world of Allegany County.”
State Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- Olean), who has been an advocate for the development of the Crossroads site, said it is very important this prominent location is developed as a positive economic driver for the community.
“The IDA’s marketing of the site as the ‘Gateway to Allegany County” and strategic approach to soliciting potential developers is another step in our ongoing efforts to spark economic growth in Allegany County and across the entire Southern Tier,” she said.
“As we all know, retail and hospitality is core to retaining business, expanding the colleges, and attracting new investments, said Dr. Craig R. Clark, Allegany County economic developer. “The development of the site is the beginning of the future for economic development in Allegany County.”
Wood noted that effectively marketing the site and teaming with HVS are the next important steps toward making the ‘Gateway to Allegany County’ a reality. A major opportunity will be the ACIDA’s participation in the 2016 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D. C. in June that will be attended by national and international companies and economic developers.
HVS will be responsible for developing both the process and comprehensive package to solicit proposals from identified developers for building on a variety of uses targeted for the Crossroads site -- including lodging, fast food, convenience food, fuel, retail and other hospitality ventures.
HVS is a fully integrated, global consulting firm focusing exclusively on the hospitality industry and providing a wide range of services to developers, owners, lenders, governments, and operators throughout the world. The firm serves clients in all 50 states and more than 60 foreign countries regarding hotels, mixed-use, shared ownership and leisure assets.
“HVS looks forward to leveraging our experience and vast network of developers on behalf of the Allegany County IDA so that the right business partners can take advantage of the many benefits offered by establishing a business at the ‘Gateway to Allegany County,’” said Thomas Dolan, HVS managing director.
The Crossroads area has been identified as the top business location and strategy for economic development in Allegany County’s Comprehensive Plan 2013 – 2023, said Curtis W. Crandall, chairman of the Allegany County Board of Legislators.
“When fully developed, the Crossroads site, right off Exit 30, will be the most convenient access to food, lodging and fuel on I-86 between Horseheads and Jamestown,” he said. “The most recent steps the ACIDA has taken are moving us closer in that direction.”
"We believe the development of the Crossroads site will serve as a cornerstone for the growth of both tourism and economic opportunities for Allegany County,” said Gretchen Hanchett, executive director of the Greater Allegany County Chamber and Office of Tourism.
For more information, interested developers and retail operators can contact Thomas Dolan, HVS managing director, at (617) 424-8912 or through the ACIDA office.
The mission of the Allegany County Industrial Development Agency is to offer attractive incentives to manufacturing and other businesses to remain and expand, or relocate, to Allegany County New York with the goals of managing growth and development; conserving rural and scenic areas, and protecting agricultural resources. For more information, visit: http://www.acida.org.