QUEENSBURY — People walked or hitched a ride up and down the northwestern side of West Mountain on Sunday to get a sense of what “The Woods at West Mountain” could look like.
Spencer Montgomery, co-owner of the West Mountain Ski Area, held an open house alongside representatives from Luizzi Companies.
Peter Luizzi of Luizzi Companies is the primary financier of the project, according to Montgomery.
The proposed ski-and-stay resort, which would cost an estimated $140 million, is planned to include 46 single-family homes, three buildings holding 18 apartments each, four condominium buildings with 72 units in total, 20 duplex townhouses, a hotel with 60 to 80 rooms, a village center with a pond and an additional 126 apartments.
A beach area will also be included, and space for a retail plaza, an amphitheater and a high-speed chairlift are a part of the plans.
Montgomery said that he would rate the event a 10 out of 10.
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“All positive feedback. I think we were able to answer people’s questions,” he said.
The plan for a ski-and-stay resort at West Mountain has been a goal from the moment Montgomery purchased the property 10 years ago, he said.
In today’s climate, he said he doesn’t feel you can responsibly invest in a ski area as he did with West Mountain and not have an endgame in mind.
For him, that is the ski-and-stay resort.
He said that other than in one instance in the western part of the state — Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, in the Southern Tier — there isn’t a “true ski-and-stay experience” in New York.
“You unpack, you know you’re in a ski village. You get to enjoy your time, forget about the world and then pack up and leave when you’re done,” Montgomery said.
As people were ending their tours in the late morning on Sunday, Montgomery began speaking to a crowd outside of the northwest base lodge at West Mountain about the planned resort.
At the end of his presentation, some residents living on neighboring properties expressed concern about the overflow parking on West Mountain Road. Cars line the road in front of homes during ski season, they said.
Montgomery said that this wasn’t the first time he has heard these views.
“We’re going to be adding a lot of parking capacity,” he said. “More importantly, we have successfully rezoned an expansion of the parking lot, it just hasn’t been completed yet.”
Montgomery said the extensive project could take 10 years to complete.
During his presentation, he said that typically a project will be constructed from the back to the front, which will not be the case with the ski-and-stay resort.
He said that the lower portion, which will include ski-centered amenities and some of the condominiums, could be completed in three to five years. After that, the developers and construction crews would head up the mountain.
“It’s anticipated that it will create 2,000 construction jobs. We have 375 employees in the winter right now at West Mountain,” Montgomery said. “That number would be at least the same on this side.”
Chuck Pafundi, director of real estate development at Luizzi Companies, noted that the reason the portion going up the mountain will take longer to complete is because it will take time for developers to get the ball rolling on the custom homes that are planned.
Montgomery mentioned during his presentation that his wife, Sara, general manager of West Mountain, had said that Queensbury isn’t typically considered a ski town.
Montgomery said that the resort will help change that.
“This, for sure, in my mind, was the most important thing to do. One, location-wise, but two it ties in directly to the vibrance and vitality of the ski area,” he said.
Montgomery said that he has been in contact with the town of Queensbury over the past six months regarding the project. The concept could take between two to six months before it is approved by the town.
He is hopeful that construction can begin in 2023, but said it could be a little further down the road.
“We were lucky to find the design build group in BBL (Construction Services) and obviously the financier and developer in Luizzi, because that’s above my pay grade,” Montgomery said.
Jay Mullen is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls, Warren County and crime and courts. You can reach him at 518-742-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.