JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 766

Displaying items by tag: Pat McEvoy

Monday, 27 April 2015 11:57

The City’s Big Economic Engine

City Center Reports Banner Year 

SARATOGA SPRINGS –The Saratoga Springs City Center hosted a record 157 events, among several other highlights, in its 30th anniversary year. The City Center’s 2014 annual report, delivered to the Saratoga Springs City Council this past Tuesday, April 21 by City Center President Mark Baker, detailed several other pieces of good news, including: 

  • -The 157 events represented a new record in building use days; the City Center was in use for 314.5 days in the last calendar year. This translates into overall occupancy of 86 percent. They hosted 68 conventions and conferences. 


“This is a testament to the investment the community made in our recent expansion,” Baker noted. The facility grew by over 12,000 square feet to a total of 32,000 feet of meeting and event space. “With our new facilities we are now able to host larger events, and two or three groups at a time; sometimes each with a different caterer.” He said. 

  • -They welcomed 150, 931 guests to its facility in 2014. Of these, 19,947 were convention guests that would stay over one or more nights at area hotels. Each of these guests (and their associations) would spend an average of $910.16 locally during their stay, according to estimates provided by The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau. This translated into a minimum of $18 million in sales. 
  • -Day guests, a total of 130,984, spent an average of $88.94 per person. These guests added over $11.6 million in sales. The total sales impact of $29,804,678.48 does not include sales at non-City Center hosted businesses (such as motor coach tours and sporting events).
  • -The City Center generated $576,000 in rental income, as well as $447,000 in sales tax revenue to both the City of Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County.
  • -In 2014, the City Center and the Saratoga Springs area demonstrated its enduring appeal, as 76 percent of the events it hosted were returning for the second time or more. The annual report listed 19 groups that had the City Center host their event for 20 or more years.  

A key reason frequently cited for these groups’ ongoing loyalty has been the remarkable tenure of the City Center’s staff. Of their 13 full-time employees, eight have been with the City Center for 10 or more years, four of those for over 25! This employee consistency allows the staff to become and remain familiar with the unique nuances and needs of each event and group. 


  • -The City Center also hosted 37 events for the first time. Overall, 20 events were hosted as a public service to the community, including not-for-profit and civic organizations, as well as the City Center’s Family Day last September.


Perhaps the best news that Mark Baker delivered to the city council is that the 2014 numbers were by no means a high-water mark for the Saratoga Springs City Center. He noted that for the first quarter of 2015, data for both events and guests were trending ahead of 2014’s record figures.


“The days of a ‘slow’ or ‘shoulder’ season are a thing of the past in Saratoga Springs.” Baker said. 


The complete 2014 annual report can be read online. Visit SaratogaCityCenter.com.  Click on ‘governance’, then 2014 annual report.


Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – With every milestone reached comes the opportunity to not only plan for the future, but also reflect on the past. That is exactly what the Saratoga Springs City Center is doing in honor of its 30th anniversary. 


Over the years the City Center has experienced continued growth and success in the convention industry, establishing itself as a highly desirable meeting and event venue in the Northeast. This celebration of achievement calls for a look back at the rich history of conventions in Saratoga Springs as well as the road to the City Center’s establishment.

City Center President Mark E. Baker has invited Supervisor Matthew Veitch to give an extensive on-site historical presentation on this topic. 


The presentation, which will be at the City Center on Wednesday, April 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will showcase numerous visuals and begins with the development and construction of Convention Hall in 1893, as well as the fire that destroyed it. The public’s reaction to the loss of this community treasure and the rallying to build a new Convention Hall during the 1960s and 1970s will also be included.


Following will be the age of Urban Renewal, the process of founding the City Center and its recent expansion. 


The Veitch family has a long-standing history in Saratoga with multiple generations working in public service. Supervisor Veitch’s grandfather, Donald Veitch, was the Executive Director of the Urban Renewal Agency from 1964-1986. He played a large role in the Spring Valley Project which allowed the land the City Center was built on to be for public and hotel use. Supervisor Veitch is passionate about this subject and has conducted extensive research, which he called ‘enlightening.’

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – With new hotel properties sprouting up like spring flowers throughout the 12866 zip code, there has never been a better time to celebrate the one hotel who put our town on the map.


The Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs will be celebrating its silver anniversary this year – 50 years is an achievement of merit in any circumstance.  As expected, they have a full slate of activities to commemorate this milestone. 


But before we detail the celebrations to come, let us take a moment to recall how this property came into existence and how it was seminal in the development of the Saratoga Springs we enjoy today.


This was an example of a municipality coming together in a unique fashion. An entire community galvanized to finance the Holiday Inn’s construction. Under a slogan of “What Saratoga Springs builds - builds Saratoga Springs,” a campaign committee was formed that had community leaders with last names most people would easily recognize: for instance Benton, Grande, Roohan, Clements and Wait. Except these, of course, were the forbearers of the ones that are prominent today.


But participation extended to all levels of the community. 

The idea of the campaign was to show a major hotel chain that this town was serious about building itself as a convention destination. In 1961, approximately 300 campaigners went door-to-door across the City of Saratoga Springs to sell over 15,000 shares of stock in a new convention hotel. In the end, they collected over $700,000 in cash and pledges from over 1,500 residents. Some invested as little as $50 while organizations such as Skidmore College and the Adirondack Trust Company purchased shares worth $25,000 or more.


Holiday Inn was a pioneer 50 years ago – opening ceremonies took place on August 15, 1964. Because of their commitment back then, you cannot name a hotel chain that wouldn’t want to be here. 


To celebrate, there are a bevy of events scheduled:


- A Reunion of Investors: Cynthia Hollowood, general manager of the Holiday Inn, invites all investors and their families to a free Anniversary Reception and Luncheon at the hotel on May 28. At the event, The Holiday Inn will unveil a 70-foot timeline featuring its robust history and catalytic role in the revitalization of Saratoga Springs.


“We have some of the names of the original shareholders, but in 50 years people make many moves and families change. We’d like to be able to find everyone so we can invite them and their families back to the hotel they helped create,” shared Hollowood. 

If you or a family member were an investor and wish to be invited to the free Anniversary Reception and Luncheon, please send your name and address to Julie Tierney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the Holiday Inn’s sales office at (518) 584-4550 ext. 353.


- Memories for Timeline: The Holiday Inn is asking community residents and guests to submit their special memories for a chance to be featured in its 50th Anniversary celebration. Selected stories will be displayed in social media, celebratory videos and on the hotel’s new 70-foot historical timeline, set to be unveiled at the end of May.


Whether it’s the day you said, “I do,” or the night you won the big award, Grandma’s 80th birthday party, your nephew’s graduation or a charity fundraiser, each individual memory, pulled together, creates 50 years of stories. 


“Since our foundation, we’ve been a community-oriented hotel. We’re still here 50 years later because of the special moments our community members choose to share with us,” said Cynthia Hollowood, general manager of the Holiday Inn. 


Those who wish to submit stories, photos or other archival documents are asked to contact Julia Ingersoll at Allegory Studios, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (518) 580-1987 ext. 102, before Friday, April 25. 


- Other Events: The Holiday Inn’s 50th Anniversary celebrations will continue throughout 2014 with a VIP Private Birthday Celebration on September 4 followed by a Community Open House on September 7. The specifics about these events will be released in the near future.


My Holiday Inn memory: As a young lad fresh out of grad school, I was thrilled to given a job as a marketing rep for a major metropolitan newspaper. My territory extended from Poughkeepsie to Montreal – the geographic mid-point was Albany, which at the time was a less-than-thrilling prospect to live in. 


On a beautiful spring day in 1981, I was driving back from Montreal, when I saw the signs for Saratoga Springs – a city I had heard of but never explored. It was lunchtime, so I pulled off at Exit 14. 


I passed the racecourse, racing museum and Congress Park on my way into town. Sitting on a Broadway patio, I thought: ‘We may have something here.’ But I was concerned what life would be like year-round. Did they roll up the sidewalks in the winter?


I did my due diligence and checked into the Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs for a week and asked residents about life here. They assured me I’d have plenty to do all year round. 


The Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs helped this “City Boy” find his new home. 


Plus, I collected a ton of “Priority Club” points.


“My Top Memories”

Cynthia Hollowood has been with The Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs for over 30 years and its general manager since 1985. We asked her to reach back and recall her favorite moments at the hotel:

  • Who would have thought? In 1983, I met a very nice couple from Ballston Spa who planned the wedding of their daughter at the hotel. On the eve of the wedding they came by to review the final arrangements. As they got up to leave my office, the husband asked, “Will you be here tomorrow? “ Unfortunately, I was scheduled to work the evening event the next day but assured them they would be well taken care of. He exclaimed, “I am not worried about that, I have 5 single, eligible sons that I would like you to meet!”  Five years later I did get to meet I met one of their sons, Brien. Eventually, they would become my in-laws, Hugh and Bernice Hollowood!
  • All New! When the Saratoga Springs City Center and adjoining hotel was getting ready to open in 1984, our partnership had the foresight to recognize that an improved facility was necessary to stay competitive. A major remodeling of rooms, commercial areas and new restaurant and nightclub/lounge was designed and built over the course of 12 months.  In the spring of 1985, RASCALS (operated by Doug and Patty Wolfe) opened and soon became one of Saratoga’s most popular eateries and successful nightclubs for more than 10 years. From that point on, we have continued to make regular improvements to keep our business going and growing. Watch for more updates coming this year.
  • The biggest (and longest) wedding of the decade: In 1989, Brien and I were married on September 3rd and held a large reception for 350 guests at the hotel that lasted over nine hours. In addition to our large families, guests included the many friends and associates we have met here at the hotel and in the business community. A total of 4 Hollowood family members have had their receptions at the hotel.
  • The Best of The Best: in 1998, along with the greater Saratoga Springs community, we had the privilege of hosting the Congressional Medal of Honor Society over Flag Day weekend. In addition to a fabulous parade and series of military band concerts, the highlight of the weekend included a black tie dinner held at the hotel. We were honored to have over 160 Congressional Medal recipients under our roof and had the opportunity to learn about their heroic efforts in protecting America’s freedom. They are described as “Ordinary men who did extraordinary acts of bravery and valor.”
  • 30 Years of Fun, Family and Friendship: in November 2011, I celebrated 30 years of service to the hotel. I was honored to celebrate with my teammates, partners and the many guests and community friends I have met along the way. My career, my family, my friends, my associates and our many guests all blend together to make for a full life in the world’s best community, Saratoga Springs.
Published in News


  • Saratoga  County Court Lorenzo J. Parker, 28, of Schenectady, was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in a state correction facility and 1 year post-release supervision, after pleading to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth-degree, charged February 2022 in Clifton Park.  Annmarie Balzano, 54, of Ballston Spa, pleaded to felony DWI, charged June 2023 in Malta. Sentencing Sept. 19.  Cedric D. Sanchez, 28, of Yonkers, N.Y., pleaded to attempted burglary in the second-degree, charged in Milton. Sentencing Aug. 2.  Matthew G. Peck, 46, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded to felony DWI, charged November 2023 in Milton. Sentencing Aug. 16.  Lacey C.…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Lynn Joyce sold property at 88 Beacon St to Elizabeth Demuro for $400,000 Adrianne Abbruzzese sold property at 67 Cornerstone Dr to Marjorie Young for $366,000 US Bank Trust NA as Trust sold property at 56 Ballston Ave to Olivia Mannion for $325,000 Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 8 Aspen Dr to TongCheng Chen for $536,069 American Estate and Trust sold property at 151 Kingsley Rd to Susan Messere for $200,000 Bernard Ingram sold property at 17 Everson Way to Michal Pastore for $549,000 CORINTH Carey Mann sold property at 18 Pine St to William Freeman for $200,000…
  • NYPA
  • Saratoga County Chamber
  • BBB Accredited Business
  • Discover Saratoga
  • Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association