Hotel proposal filed with town

MANCHESTER - Another new hotel, this one a Mediterranean-themed affair with a restaurant and spa, may be in the offing for Manchester.

Alpaslan Basdogan, President of Asia Minor Carpets Inc., has filed an application with the town to construct hotel and spa that would include "80 oversized Mediterranean styled accommodation units comprised of a mix of luxury suites, premier suites and premium rooms," according to the project overview and performance standards outline.

"What we're trying to do is make the place very unique and historical," said Basdogan. "Historically Manchester is a resort town and I think we need a more diversified resort."

Four years ago Basdogan - who is the owner of Depot 62, a furniture store and restaurant on Depot Street - went before the Development Review Board to present conceptual plans for the hotel and spa at a preliminary hearing. The proposal will be back before the town's planning commission and development review board over the course of the next two weeks.

If the proposal obtains ultimate approval, it would be built on the eastern side of Route 7A or Main Street, on the northern side of town, in the vicinity of the town hall.

According to documents filed with town hall, the project would include a Mesopotamian-Turkish spa complex with an exercise room, massage rooms, a yoga room, hot room, warm room, chill room and locker rooms. There will also be small year-round indoor pools and an outdoor pool, according to the Basic Descriptive Narrative.

The project also plans to include a 160 seat Mediterranean-styled restaurant and kitchen that would offer an all-organic menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as 24 hour room service. Basdogan said the hotel and spa would partner with Earth Sky Time Farm and have Oliver Levis manage an organic farming operation that would provide some of the fresh produce for the restaurant, according to the narrative.

The existing two-story farm house on the site would be restored and used as a private guest residence. There is also the proposal to include a new 160 square foot deck on the house as part of the plans, according to the narrative.

The existing barn would be converted into office space and a storage area. The construction of a new 280 square foot deck on the rear side of the barn is also being proposed as part of the plans, according to the narrative.

The construction of a 9,000 square foot barn is being proposed as part of the project as well. The space would be divided for multiple uses which would include serving as a storage area for five to 10 antique cars to be used by guests, a photography studio, a seasonal spa/hotel furniture storage, and trade show and rug and carpet storage.

The plans for the project also include a proposed 3,200 square foot single family home to be built off Village View Road that would serve as the owner's private residence, according to the narrative.

Given the various components of the project, the filing fee alone for the application for a permit was quite substantial, coming in at $32,774.

The proposed 74,000 square foot hotel and spa - which would be located at 5940 Main Street - has drawn concern from at least one neighbor over a variety of issues.

"My concerns are the effect of the project on my right to the quiet enjoyment of my property, as it relates to noise, night lighting, unpleasant odors and the perils of the stagnant water," stated Landmark Lane resident Jane Austin in a letter to the Planning Board dated June 6, 2012. "I have briefly reviewed the plans on record at town hall and would like to point out that the very things one would not like the patrons of the facility to see or smell are figuratively right in my back yard, those being the storm water facility, septic system, waste bin storage, and garbage pick-up."

Austin continued in her letter to state that a long tree barrier - Norway spruce 15' or greater - would go a long way to protecting her property from night lighting pollution and somewhat from noise pollution.

Should the project come to fruition, it would be marketed mainly to a clientele that does not visit Manchester and perhaps may not have even heard of the town or the region on the past, according to the project overview.

Among the segments of the population the hotel's marketing would seek to attract is the large population of permanent and semi-permanent European residents who are accustomed to such facilities in Europe and the Mediterranean but have been unable to find one in the United States. However, the hotel and spa's marketing initiative will also target U.S. residents, travelers and visitors who are seeking such a facility, people looking for a "unique experience" in a setting that offers features and service only found in international destinations, and those seeking something "special" and "out of the ordinary," according to the overview.

In support of their marketing initiative, the hotel and spa would be offering a number of unique packages among which would include unique spa treatments, exploration of the Green Mountains from antique cars, and valet service to and from Albany International and Rutland Airports and Amtrak.

Basdogan said the hotel and spa would have an educational component as well.

"I will be teaching people weaving as an art therapy," Basdogan said. "We are a three generation rug weaving family [and] I'd like to share that with the public."

Basdogan said that they would be offering cooking classes to some degree as well.

The hotel and spa is an agenda item on both the Planning Commission and the Design and Development Review Board's meeting schedules this month. The Design and Development Review Board will meet on Wednesday, June 13 at 7:30 at Town Hall. The Planning Commission meeting will be held on June 20 at Town Hall beginning at 7 p.m.


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