MALONE — The Hotel Flanagan will be a Best Western Hotel and Suites franchise, catering to high-end clients who could be enjoying the lush life in downtown Malone by Memorial Day 2008.But first, asbestos-laced materials on much of the five-story building's stucco exterior and minor deposits on the inside must be made safe.During a nearly 90-minute meeting with reporters, three of the project principles explained what has taken place so far, what will be next and what is the future for the arson-scarred building before it becomes part of the international hotel chain.Frank Cositore Sr. is the senior project manager and father of Frank Cositore Jr., the president of UICC Holding Corp., which owns the property.Frank Sr., who has been in the construction business for 50 years, said a two-man team from Envirobiologic has been working this week to begin removal of the smaller patches of asbestos found within the building.None of the material has been carried off site so far.He said the inspection, management and removal of the asbestos-containing material is being supervised by a State Department of Labor environmental specialist, and the air is tested before, during and after its removal to determine whether any has become airborne.Cositore characterized the interior spots as minor asbestos sites that were not part of the original construction of the building, which would require a more involved removal process.
The removal team, wearing specialized suits that are thrown away every day, seals all doors and curtains off the work area to prevent any spread of hazardous materials, then double seals the contaminants in special bags that are sequestered in one specific room designated on each floor.Those rooms are sealed every night as work ends so no one will enter them by accident, and the material waits to be removed by licensed asbestos handlers, who place it in sealed containers clearly marked to show that they contain asbestos.Cositore said that such a detailed asbestos-removal process can't be used on the exterior of the Flanagan, and, because the stucco cannot be removed, it will be sealed with a specially applied substance that adheres to whatever it touches.It captures any powdery particles of asbestos and hold them, he said.The sealant remains somewhat sticky, allowing another layer of stucco to be applied right over the original surface and creating a second barrier on the asbestos.The interior asbestos removal should take another four to five weeks, but there is no timetable on the exterior treatment, since it depends on weather conditions and the removal off all 128 of the hotel's windows, Cositore said.The next phase will be overseen by Project Manager Paul Abruzzi, who will gut the building by tearing out all of the drywall and plaster right down to the steel structure."The first repair will be the roof," he said.
Between 35 and 40 people would be hired during the interior-demolition and pre-construction phases, and UICC is asking for the public's patience as it blocks traffic from time to time while moving the dumpsters into and out of the alleyway beside the hotel.Already, 500,000 pounds, or 57 dumpsters, of trash have been removed from the Flanagan since UICC Holding Corp. began working in there last year.Work will continue from the top down, finding the best sites for the sprinkler systems and water lines that will be part of the hidden safety features within the hotel.Abruzzi said the gutting should take about three weeks.And, as he finishes one section, Cositore will return with engineers, and Operations Manager Joe Wanser to determine what needs and amenities must to be considered in the final design and construction.Wanser said some of those decisions will either be regulated by Best Western or his team will defer to the hotel chain's experience in the industry, since it successfully operates 3,000 similar properties around the world.For example, room sizes must be standardized, which means they can't be sure at this time just home many rooms and suites the Flanagan will have.The early discussions were for an 88-room facility, he said, but that could change.
The hotel will include a restaurant, night club and convention center to host community fundraisers and other events, Wanser said, and a variety of entertainment will be offered."We're really looking at an aggressive schedule to make our first room available on Memorial Day, 2008," Abruzzi said. "The schedule will test our sanity."Wanser said the group hopes to draw clients from as far away as Chicago, New York City and Montreal, adding that Best Western officials were excited about the chance to expand in northern New York, where it already has locations in Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh.He said Frank Cositore Jr. was instrumental in bringing Best Western into the talks, which began about six months ago.UICC Holding Corp. bought the Flanagan in 2004 and announced plans to spend between $6 million and $10.2 million on bringing the place back to its grandeur.None of the men wanted to say Friday how much might be spent on the project.In a related matter, Abruzzi said that, even though the company has a contract to purchase the building next door, there are no concrete plans for use yet and no closing has taken place.The Flanagan opened in 1914 and was closed in 1997 when an arson fire tore through the place and gutted it.
A man fell to his death in 1999 during a night of drinking after he and some buddies broke into the boarded-up building.