By Mike Kane
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Four years into their business partnership, longtime friends Larry Roth and Michael Dubb are ready to unveil and start selling condominiums in their massive downtown project, The Residences at the Adelphi Hotel.
Roth and Dubb have scheduled an informational brunch at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 6 at the Adelphi Hotel, 365 Broadway. The event is by RSVP only. The Residences at the Adelphi Hotel features 79 condominiums that are part of a $90-million development on the corner of Broadway and Washington Street. A decade ago, Roth was a partner in the purchase, reconstruction and rebirth of the historic Adelphi into a 32-room luxury boutique hotel that melded the past with the present. It opened in Octtober 2017.
In 2019, after splitting with his partners in the Adelphi, Roth joined forces with Dubb–a highly successful real estate developer based on Long Island–and bought the Rip Van Dam building next door. The Rip Van Dam was built as a hotel in 1840s, but in recent decades the building housed businesses and offices. Their original plan was to expand the hotel, add amenities and build apartments. Last year, following some test marketing, the Thoroughbred owners and businessmen changed course a bit and decided to build condominiums instead of apartments. The first group of condos are expected to be completed and ready for occupancy in February 2024. The entire project will be finished by September 2024.
Roth and Dubb scheduled their meeting right in the middle of a very busy period during the Saratoga racing season. In addition to the programs at Saratoga Race Course, which include the $1-million GI Whitney S. on Saturday, The Jockey Club's annual Round Table Conference will be held Thursday, the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be inducted Friday and the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale of select yearlings will be held Monday and Tuesday evenings.
“We have so many people who are interested,” Dubb said. “that we thought we would just do an informational brunch, where Larry and I would introduce the team around us, talk about the vision, talk about the lifestyle, and the amenities and kind of let people get a glimpse.”
Dubb said the offering plan for condominium sales required by New York State was approved by the Attorney General's office last week. He said the condos in the five-story new building will range in price from the high $700,000s for studios to a pair of penthouse spaces priced at $3.5 million.
“We are actually now in a position to sign sales contracts and take binders to hold the units until people go to sales,” Dubb said. “Our sales reps are almost now working 24/7, keeping up with the interest in it.
“We thought, everybody's in town that week, let's get everybody in one room and let's talk and then let's answer the questions. It's one thing to hear it's nice, it's another thing to really get the deep-down on it. I know what it will be. I've done this before, but it's my job to kind of convey to people what the finished product Larry and I have created will look like.”
The nine condo unit types: five studios; 10 studios with den; 21 one-bedrooms; five one-bedrooms with den; 20 two-bedrooms; nine two-bedrooms with den; two three-bedrooms; five three-bedrooms with den; two penthouse suites.
In 2012, Roth and Richbell Capital headed by Simon Milde and his son Toby, acquired the Adelphi Hotel property for $4.5 million. The Adelphi opened in 1877 and is the last of the major hotels that operated on Broadway in the 19th century. The new owners made some improvements to the rundown hotel, had it open for one season while developing a plan then embarked on the major overhaul that took four years. Roth said the hotel has proven to be popular and that occupancy has been at about 100% during the racing season and at an average of approximately 80% for the year.
Roth wanted to continue to grow, incorporating the Rip Van Dam and land behind it on Washington Street, with an even bigger undertaking.
“Basically, the reason I had to separate with my partners was because they did not have the same vision I had,” he said. “I said to them, 'We should do something with the rest of the property because someone's going to do something. Someone's going to take that parking lot and they're going to build a competing hotel. You don't want to compete with a hotel next to the Adelphi because we're getting very good rates at the Adelphi and that hotel was not going to get the same rates.' That's when we completely separated. They said, 'No, we're not going to buy it.' I said, 'Yes, we are.' That's when we separated and I decided to buy the Rip Van Dam and that's when Michael got involved.
“He saw the vision too. We both grew up in that same area of Long Island. We both had the same vision of what this property could be.”
What Roth and Dubb–equal partners in the entire development of the hotel and the Residences–settled on was the expansion into the Rip Van Dam, increasing the Adelphi from its 32 to 45 rooms. Eight more rooms have just become available in a new adjoining structure. The final 12 to reach the total of 65 are expected to go on-line by mid-August.
Rather than 85 apartments, they opted for the 79 condos in a building being constructed on Washington Street. Among the many amenities available is an underground parking for 100 cars, which includes EV charging stations. A key element of the concept, modeled after top resorts around the world is that amenities, such as gyms, spas, meeting rooms and game rooms, security, as well as hotel concierge and housekeeping services will be available to condominium residents and hotel guests. Condominium owners will be able to rent their properties through the Adelphi, which will handle all the details.
“It's really not just unusual to Saratoga, but I think this is unusual to the entire upstate of New York,” Dubb said.
The foundation of the complex are the historic buildings with their distinctive facades that face Broadway. They required extensive upgrades and the new structures were built behind them. What had been something of a quiet corner on busy Broadway has undergone a dramatic change in the last 10 years.
“This is really born out of a passion and a love for Saratoga. In my case, decades and decades long,” Dubb said. “It's actually 50 years this year since the first time I came to Saratoga and for Larry, kind of love at first sight and he totally immersed himself in it.”
Dubb said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic slowed the project by six months to a year and added 30% to the cost. Interior work was ongoing for a couple of years, and at the end of last summer, with the permits in place, the structures started to rise.
“In September, there was nothing,” Dubb said. “After Labor Day, we started construction on the additional hotel rooms that would be located in the new building, as well as the 79 condominiums. So if you left Saratoga as a horse person, and left on Labor Day, you came back and you said, 'Wow, there's a whole building standing here.'”
Long gone are the days when Saratoga Springs reverted to a sleepy little upstate city when the 24-day four-week racing season wrapped up in late August.
“What we're finding is Saratoga really stands on its own as a very prominent area in New York state,” Dubb said. “A lot of people who are involved in Thoroughbreds think Saratoga begins and ends with the Thoroughbred season, but it doesn't. It's busy here all year round. In the wintertime, people will come here and use it as a base to ski. Leaf season. Springtime. Skidmore graduation. Parents Weekend in October.”
Roth said his experience through five years with the Adelphi proved there is plenty of demand for luxury accommodations.
“I'm telling you from our own records that the hotel is busy pretty much all year round,” he said.
The purchase of the Rip Van Dam and construction of the building directly behind it has enabled Roth and Dubb to create space to increase the size of the Salt & Char steakhouse on the first floor of the Rip Van Dam. Also, the relocation of a kitchen to a new space, will lead to a larger lobby for the Adelphi Hotel. They have also increased the size of the ballroom.
The condos have open floor plans, are bright with plenty of glass and have balconies.
“We really wanted to provide the highest level of detail,” Dubb said. “Take the detail and the luxury of the hotel rooms, carry it through to the residences. The residences have high ceilings, nice trim, Andersen Windows, Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, Restoration Hardware (now RH) vanities, seven-inch hardwood flooring. All of the really high-end details that you would find in a hotel room. And large bathrooms.”
The Residences are connected to the Adelphi Hotel with its Morrissey's Lounge and Bistro, Salt & Char, Wine Cellar and the ballroom. A salon will be located in the Residences. The Starbucks coffee shop on the corner has been closed during the reconstruction phase, but will re-open. Nearby on Broadway and side streets are many restaurants, bars and shops. Dubb said that through experience with other properties, he knows the combination is an attractive package.
“I strongly believe in this concept, in this way of living,” he said. “We also own apartment buildings, and retail and industrial, so I have a pretty good sense of what people want. Even in large residential communities I've built, I tried to put in a retail shopping area as an amenity to the community. It's a lifestyle.”
Roth and Dubb will be part of the community at Broadway and Washington.
“I kid everybody that Larry and I love it so much the first two homes we sold to ourselves,” Dubb said. “Then our sales representative also bought one. There's no higher testament to what you believe in than putting your money where your mouth is and wanting to live there. I think both of us look forward to living the dream that we've envisioned and work so hard for. And, trust me, we have worked hard on this project.”