Governors Motor Inn site to house self-storage units

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Governors Motor Inn has been boarded up and vacant since suffering extensive fire damage in 2010. A plan is now in place to tear down the former motel and replace it with a self-storage facility. ​

GUILDERLAND — Customers will no longer be asked to pay by the hour but rather by the foot, as a plan for the former Governors Motor Inn has finally come together. 

First brought before the Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals in May, the proposal is to tear down the once-swanky motel at 2505 Western Ave. and an existing single-family home at 2501 Western Ave., and in their place erect four self-storage buildings.

Three of the buildings would be “non-temperature-controlled drive-up units,” according to Town Planner Kenneth Kovalchik’s memo, while the remaining building would have a mix of both types of units — temperature-controlled and non-temperature-controlled.

The units will vary in size from five-feet wide by 10-feet deep to 10-feet wide by 30-feet deep, according to Kovalchik’s memo; Building 1 would be 26,775 square feet; Building 2 would be 9,600 square feet; Building 3 would be 6,750 square feet; and Building 4 would be 4,200 square feet — all buildings would be one story tall.

Store Away at Western Ave, LLC, the applicant, was before the zoning board again this month seeking a variance from having to have sprinklers in its buildings, which the board was amenable to, having granted a variance for Store Away’s Guilderland Center location. The project is slated to be before the board again at its August meeting. 

The Albany County Land Bank announced in December 2019 that it had reached an agreement with the owners and operators of Store Away Self Storage to purchase the Governors Motor Inn property for $150,000. 

On the May application for a special-use permit, the Albany County Land Bank is still listed as the owner of the motel, and the property is listed as “Sale Pending” on the land bank’s website — with a for sale price of $299,000. 

The former motel has an estimated tax balance to be paid by the buyer (amount finalized at closing) of $27,137. There’s a period between when the county forecloses on a tax-delinquent property and when the land bank’s tax-exempt status takes effect. During that time, the property is subject to municipal and school taxes; in 2018, the estimated tax balance was $12,122.

 

— From Store Away at Western Ave, LLC 
The units will vary in size from five-feet wide by 10-feet deep to 10-feet wide by 30-feet deep. Building 1 would be 26,775 square feet; Building 2 would be 9,600 square feet; Building 3 would be 6,750 square feet; and Building 4 would be 4,200 square feet — all buildings would be one story tall. 

 

— From Store Away at Western Ave, LLC 

 

 

History

The Governors Motor Inn had its heyday a half-century ago when it featured live music and was a destination for couples going out to dine and dance. In more recent decades, it was rundown and rented rooms by the hour.

The inn has been boarded up and vacant since suffering extensive fire damage in 2010. The out-of-state owners of the motel had been in arrears on their taxes since 201, and, in 2017, were charged by the town with a number of property-maintenance violations.

In August 2017, Guilderland officials received a letter from TD Bank, stating that it planned to release property owner, Laxmi LLC, from the remaining mortgage balance. Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber said at the time he understood the amount remaining on the mortgage exceeded $300,000.

Barber believed that the bank decided to write off its lien and released the mortgage in part due to the county’s tax lien and ongoing town court proceedings, The Enterprise reported at the time. Unpaid local taxes had been accruing since 2012 and totaled about $209,000 owed to Albany County.

The property was first listed for sale at $475,000, and the asking price had been lowered numerous times, to $425,000, then $350,000, then $325,000, then $290,000; and, finally, $275,000. A sale pending in February 2018 fell through a month later; the would-be buyer had planned to put up a mixed-use building, but decided that the total cost of back taxes, demolition, and rebuilding was too great.

The Albany County Land Bank took ownership of the property in August 2018. In September 2018, the land bank put the motel on the market for $350,000. Prospective buyers would have had to deal with demolition and probably asbestos, the land bank’s Executive Director Adam Zaranko said at the time, but not with paying back taxes on the property.

The town made a local law in 2019, adding regulations about self-storage facilities to its zoning code. The inn is within a local business zoning district, where storage is allowed with a special-use permit. 

In June 2019, the land bank took bids from companies to find out how much it might cost for the land bank to have the demolition and remediation done, to make the property more attractive to developers. 

“We’re getting close,”  Zaranko said in September 2019, referring to the tentative deal that had been reached with a developer to purchase the property. In December 2019, the land bank announced it had reached an agreement with Store Away to purchase the building. 

More Guilderland News

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  • The May 17 petition filed by Cuyler Court residents William and Colleen Anders claims that, in July 2023, the town’s use of heavy equipment to access “stormwater or water management facilities” caused damage to their driveway and yard, which when combined with Guilderland’s “negligence and failure to maintain certain components” of those facilities, led to “significant flooding” of the Anders’ basement six months later. 

  • “This means a great deal to not only this community, but my family as well,” said Councilwoman Amanda Beedle on flying the pride flag. She said she had brought the matter to the board because she wanted “to show that this town is very open and inclusive and welcoming to all.”

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