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In Sharon Springs

Bathhouse restoration project moving ahead

Thursday, December 26, 2013
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In Sharon Springs


Conceptual plans have been filed for a restoration project at the Imperial Baths in Sharon Springs.
Conceptual plans have been filed for a restoration project at the Imperial Baths in Sharon Springs.

— Restoration of a historic bathhouse on Main Street is back on the agenda in Sharon Springs, where a downstate developer hopes to restore several properties.

New York City-based Sharon Springs Inc. presented conceptual drawings to the village last week for a project estimated at between $5 million and $7 million, the company’s attorney, Joanne Darcy Crum, said Thursday.

SSI principal Kyusung Cho and several associates purchased several properties, including the Imperial Baths, eight years ago with the goal of turning the bathhouse site into a spa.

Disagreements within the investment group, which led to legal action, stalled the plans.

Now, Cho is pursuing the effort on his own, and the project is expected to remain eligible for a $1 million Restore NY grant awarded several years ago.

The Beaux Arts Imperial bathhouse, built in 1927, is among three bathhouses on Main Street that contributed to the Sharon Springs Historic District being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, according to the nomination form.

Though the restoration project has not progressed much since discussion began several years ago, Sharon Springs Mayor Doug Plummer said he’s “cautiously optimistic” because formal paperwork has now been filed.

“This is as far as it’s ever gone. It is so exciting,” Plummer said.

SSI purchased the dilapidated former Washington Hotel and had it torn down over the summer. The company will demolish some of the non-salvageable outbuildings on the Imperial Baths property.

Crum said the Imperial Baths and two adjacent buildings will be tied together and the former Adler and Columbia hotels will be stabilized. Once stabilized, the old hotels could be renovated to add lodging, Crum said.

SSI’s plans to tie in three buildings — the Imperial Bath facility and one building on each side — fits in with village hopes that the Imperial Baths facade would be maintained, Plummer said.

The building on the southern side of the Imperial Baths once held doctors’ offices and was used for treatment rooms for guests to inhale fumes from the sulphur water.

The laundry facility to the north, situated farther back from Main Street near the Imperial Baths, also will be saved. The buildings must be saved under requirements of the Restore NY grant, Plummer said.

Plummer said the Main Street facades will maintain their historic attributes, a priority voiced by many village residents.

Crum said more specific plans are being developed and the company will be pursuing help to fund the project.

In addition to the state grant, there may be assistance through the Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency, which can offer tax breaks.

Ideally, Crum said, a fully operating spa with a cafe and restaurant could create from 70 to 90 jobs in the village of about 500 people.

 
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