Best Western renos underway


By Patsy Nicosia

Behind the walls of the former Best Western, it’s a different world.
Within days of taking ownership of the now-derelict Cobleskill hotel, crews working for new owner Mohammad Jan had cleared the hallways of inches of broken glass and debris, Code Enforcement Officer Mike Piccolo said, and where they can, they’ve even begun sheetrocking some of the rooms.
They’re about two weeks behind their own—and Schoharie County’s—schedule, he said, because of National Grid delays in getting the power turned back on, “but they do have power on now in 90 percent of the building and it’s 90 percent cleaned out,” he said.
Crews have begun working on the plumbing and have begun working with a local company on floors and carpeting.
“They’re using local help and businesses wherever they can,” Mr. Piccolo told the Town Board Monday.
And Cobleskill’s helping too.
Mr. Piccolo said when crews needed their lawn mower blades sharpened so they could mow, CEO Joe Nelson took them to Agway and got it done.
Still, Mr. Jan and his daughters, Elisha and Maha, have a long road ahead of them.
Not only was the 70-plus-room hotel badly vandalized after the previous owners shut it down, Mr. Piccolo said, but thieves took out all of the copper water pipes; they’ll need to be replaced before they can start tracking down leaks.
Mr. Piccolo said he expects it to take at least nine months for Phase 1 of the project: getting the facility in good enough shape that Mr. Jan can shop it to a “flag” like Best Western or Marriott, who’ll decide things like color scheme and restaurant layout.
The Jans plan to restore the hotel, restaurant, bowling alley, and pool—which had been used as a BBQ pit, Mr. Piccolo said—but it will all take time.
Under an agreement reached with Schoharie County, $453,331.13 in back taxes on the property will be waived over time as long as Mr. Jan meets agreed-upon milestones.
There will be no PILOT, the property will be reassessed annually, and Mr. Jan will be responsible for paying back-village taxes and school taxes in the fall; the town taxes have already been rolled into the county tax bill.
In addition to the work at the Best Western, Mr. Piccolo said he’s also working with developers on other potential projects including a hotel and equine center, housing at Shad Point, and “something” at the old Pangman’s building.”
“I’m very optimistic about our future,” said Supervisor Werner Hampel. “The improvements at the hotel in such a short time are remarkable; it will be a benefit to everyone here in our community.
“Literally, everyone’s going out of their way to help. It’s wonderful to see our community coming together like this.”