COLONIE- The long-awaited demolition of the Skylane Motel on Central Avenue began today, after years of court battles between the town and motel owners.
“We’re on our way,” town supervisor Paula Mahan said Tuesday at the demolition site. “It’s been a long time coming.” Mahan said that she wished demolition could have been done sooner, but the town had to go through the proper legal process.
The Skylane Motel at 1927 Central Ave. was closed in January of 2014 after it received hundreds of alleged code violations, and then owner Alex Patel racked up $750,000 in fines. In March of 2015, Patel entered into a plea bargain with the town and agreed to demolish the hotel in exchange for the town dropping the fines. Patel’s son, Niral, is now running the business. A second hotel that was owned by Patel, called the Blu-Bell, was demolished in October. There are plans to convert that site into a small retail center.
The demolition of Skylane is the final step in the legal process, according to town attorney Michael Maggiullo. Maggiullo said that the owners had until tomorrow to begin the demolition process in order to comply with the plea bargain. Now that demolition has begun, Maggiullo said plans for making the area into a mini storage space will commence. Neither site can be used for any type of hotel, motel, or housing unit again.
Maggiullo called the demolition a win for the town, due to the fact that the motel was becoming a haven for sex offenders. The high concentration of sex offenders in the motel was one of the reasons the Town Board became so focused on its demolition.
“As far as the sex offenders go, that’s something that our criminal justice system has to monitor. They have to do what they need to do, we have to rely on them to do that to keep people safe. But the reality is, we have to look at it from a more global perspective. You’ve got, first of all, families and kids sometimes mixed in the area but the other part of it is that we don’t want anyone living in conditions that are not fit for humans to be in,” Mahan said at the demolition site on Tuesday.
Addressing concerns regarding whether people close to the demolition site would be affected by asbestos, Mahan was confident in the demolition crew’s knowledge of proper procedures for tearing down the building and disposing of it.
“They’re going through the proper procedures. We have to rely on them to go through the proper procedures so that it gets done correctly.” Mahan said the hosing process is meant to protect neighbors from the asbestos.
“They’re in charge of that,” she said of the work crews. “They know what the regulations are and we depend on them to do it correctly.”
Work crews were beginning the demolition process and the asbestos removal process by hosing down the motel. The waste will be brought to the city of Albany landfill. Demolition is expected to be completed by the end of the week.