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December 5, 2012

Courtyard hotel anticipating growth in region

The Daily Star

---- — Say you want to build a hotel in Oneonta geared toward business travelers.

Do you wait for more development before building? Or do you build now and hope your hotel helps spark more development?

It’s the chicken-or-egg dilemma.

The owners of the new Courtyard by Marriott, just a couple of months from opening on the south side of Oneonta, chose the latter option.

“We’ll built it and encourage business to come,” is how Todd Heyn, the hotel’s sales director, described their decision.

The group, led by Erfan Kahn, has a history of in Otsego County development. It started with the Pit Stop, a small convenience store south of Cooperstown, then built the Holiday Inn Express on Route 28 in Hartwick and bought the old Knott’s Motel, which is now the Red Carpet Inn on the Lake in Milford Town.

They are shooting for a Feb. 7 opening of the four-story, 95-room Courtyard on Route 28.

“It’s going to be a brand-new, modern, technologically enhanced facility,” Heyn said. “Wi-fi throughout the building, oodles of power outlets and charging stations and those kinds of things,” Heyn said. “We will have a small restaurant called The Bistro.”

Marriott markets its Courtyard hotels to business travelers.

“That’s out prime focus, but not our only focus,” Heyn said. “When the owners were looking for what chain to go with, they looked at the competition in the area and stated, ‘What are we missing?’ and what they figured is that what we’re missing is mid- to upper-scale business-class facility, and that’s why they chose to go with the Courtyard by Marriott.”

He pointed out that Oneonta has wealth of midsize businesses, such as Medicoach, Siemens Medical and Custom Electronics, to name just a few.

Nevertheless Heyn has his eyes on other classes of travelers, especially the State University College at Oneonta and Hartwick College.

“The college business actually is more significant than I realized,” he said.

It’s “not just parents coming into the area,” he added. “Sports teams are huge. With SUCO, itself, out of their 6,000 students, 500 of them are student-athletes, comprising anywhere from 20 to 30 or so different teams.

“Hartwick has a pretty similar situation. Plus, they’ve got to bring in tournaments on occasion throughout the year.”

“We’re receiving some interest from SUNY Delhi, as well, for the same situation,” he added.

The hotel was just starting to upload its rates to the Intenet, Heyn said, and reservations should be available on such websites as Travelocity, Expedia and Kayak within a week or two.

Bank branch relocates

Community Bank N.A. has relocated its Oneonta Southside Branch Office to Community Bank Plaza at 4987 Route 23 from its former location in the Southside Mall.

The new branch will be open seven days per week,and have three drive-up lanes, including a drive-up ATM, convenient customer parking and safe deposit boxes, as well as high visibility and access from State Highway 23.

“We have built a strong Oneonta customer base over the years and believe the new office will allow us to better serve our customers and maintain the Community Bank’s number one market share in Oneonta,” said Joseph Sutaris, senior vice president and regional banking executive for the bank’s Central New York Region.

A grand opening event will be held in early 2013, he said.

Chamber to host Bagels and Benefits

The Otsego County Chamber will hold a Bagels and Benefits event in its offices at 8:30 a.m. Friday during which it will discuss the benefits of membership to business representatives.

It asks anyone wishing to attend to respond by Wednesday at or by calling 432-4500.

To suggest a business story, announce a new business or changes to an existing one, email details to or call Richard Whitby 432-1000, ext. 221.