Phoenicia Hotel is purchased by local investor Declan Feehan

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Development plans may be dependent upon sewer project

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Phoenicia Hotel, which burned down last July, has been sold. The purchaser is local businessman Declan Feehan, who had been in negotiations with the previous owner for years before finally closing on the property last Wednesday.
The hotel had been closed for about a year before it burned, and had fallen into disrepair. Its location on Phoenicia’s Main Street is considered to be the heart of the hamlet’s business district, causing many to wonder what Feehan will do with the property.
While the new owner would not say specifically what he intends to do, in the past he spoke optimistically about building a new hotel on the site, but those plans were dashed a year ago when Phoenicia voters shot down a proposal to build a sewer system. Because the vote followed a volatile battle over the system, one which led to a confusing array of both information and misinformation about the project, the City of New York, which is funding the construction of the $17 million system, agreed to keep open the option to build the system open. The Town of Shandaken has until June to decide once and for all whether to agree to the system.
Asked how that future of the system plays a role in his decision making for the property, Feehan said it was a crucial element.
“I’m watching the sewer issue very closely,” he added.
In the meantime, Feehan said he is considering a plan to demolish the remains of the structure, something that previous owner Richard Stokes refused to do, claiming that the historic building could be saved. No date for the demolition is set, but there have been calls for the façade of the structure to be saved or replicated in the design of any new structure.
There have been all sorts of rumors about what Feehan plans for the site, including one to erect several steel storage units, but Feehan would not comment, only to say that he had heard those rumors too.
Nine fire companies converged on Phoenicia’s Main Street early Sunday morning, July 29 to battle a blaze that ultimately destroyed the historic Phoenicia Hotel, established in 1854, that became a haunt for the likes of legends like Babe Ruth and Legs Diamond.
Long considered the physical heart of the Phoenicia business district, the hotel was the victim of a blaze that has been determined to be of suspicious origin.
While firefighters fought to keep the blaze from spreading to neighboring buildings, the Key Bank building located next to the hotel suffered water damage after firefighters broke through the bank’s roof with water from the high pressure hoses they used. The bank had damage to the roof as well as its hung ceiling. The carpet had some damage and some computer equipment was damaged as well.
The hotel, which was a fixture on Main Street, had been vacant for months. Before that, it served as a hotel with rooms on the second floor and a restaurant and bar on the first. It also had three storefronts. The hotel is a two-story, wood-frame structure.