EDC head predicts Carmel hotel will become reality

Developer Paul Camarda wants Putnam visitors to no longer travel to greater Danbury or the Dutchess area for lodging.

Kevin Bailey, president of the non-for-profit Putnam County Economic Development Corporation agrees and, before a presentation of the Putnam legislature's Economic Development Committee, Bailey called the prospect of a quality hotel "exciting" for the county.

Bailey commended both Carmel officials as well as Camarda for their work on the project. "The town has the final say in the matter but if I were a betting man, I'd wager heavily that this will happen," he told Legislators Mary Ellen Odell and Sam Oliverio who serve on the committee with Legislator Robert McGuigan who was absent.

It has been more than five years since a referendum was overwhelming supported by residents of Carmel to support the plan. Bailey said it would be appropriate for the hotel to become reality. "After all, the residents have spoken," he said.

Camarda agreed. In a recent interview, the developer told the Courier that residents were "eagerly waiting for this to take place since the proposal will result in great tax benefits for the commun ity as well as a hierarchy of new jobs - hotel managers, catering directors as well as hotel staff. The hotel will be a great resource to both local residents and local businesses which need a hotel in this county."

Camarda said he was moving forward as rapidly as possible to make the hotel become reality. "I am hopeful the town will move forward in a professional manner within the next few months to allow the project to break ground."

The project exceeds $100 million and includes not only the hotel but several chain restaurants, offices, the YMCA as well as market rate senior housing. Camarda said the project "serves a variety of market needs."

"This is the best of all worlds," said Camarda, who added: "We're not talking about a 'vanilla-ice-cream-basic-cookie-cutter' hotel being stamped out across America. Staybridge Suites, a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Hotel chain, is designing the multi-million dollar 150 room facility specifically for Carmel and Putnam County." Guests will have the opportunity to recline in studios, one bedroom rooms, two bedroom rooms or suites.

The Intercontinental group is renowned for its five star hotels worldwide including the Johns Hopkins in San Francisco and the Barclay Hotel in Manhattan.

Bailey said the hotel was a "no brainer. Residents of the Town of Carmel voted overwhelmingly in favor when they authorized the selling of the property to Paul Camarda."

Putnam Legislator Regina Morinin said the hotel complex "must happen. Anyone visiting always winds up outside of our county in order to receive quality accommodations. It's a terrible situation in this day and age but hopefully things will be different within the next year or two."

Former Carmel Supervisor and recently retired Deputy County Executive Frank DelCampo called the project "another step in the right direction. This is a victory for the entire county since Putnam's economy will receive a new infusion of business growth. Not only will jobs be created but Putnam residents will be able to use the hotel when guests visit. The conference center and banquet rooms will also have a tremendous economic impact since local groups will no longer have to travel out of county for dinners and convocations," he said.