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Visions Hotels drops food/beverage service at new Albany acquisition

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The last time I dined at Marché in Albany, I crossed my fingers that the venue would prosper.

It's not that the bistro in the downtown boutique hotel known as 74 State had any apparent problems. Quite the opposite. It had been widely praised by local reviewers, including me, and foodies in general.

The problem was that the ownership of the hotel was in trouble and trying to sell out. It was just one of a number of businesses damaged by involvement in investment funds operated by McGinn, Smith & Co., the Albany brokerage firm whose founders now are in federal prison after convictions for serving securities fraud.

The hotel's major lender, CIT Lending Services Corp., eventually foreclosed on the property and acquired it, holding it for more than a year before selling to an arm of Visions Hotels for an undisclosed price.

That didn't bode well for the restaurant, recently renamed Bistro/Bar at 74. Visions Hotels, owned by Southern Tier businessmen Hemant Patel and Andy Patel, operates hotels in Buffalo, Rochester, Elmira, Utica and Watertown. It runs limited-service operations without food and beverage service.

This week they shut down all food and beverage service and laid off staffers involved with that portion of the operation that opened in 2007.

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