MANCHESTER >> Work on a site for a new Hampton Inn & Suites is scheduled to begin next month, nearly two years after the original permits for the project were issued by town officials.
The project calls for the construction of a new 98 room lodging facility on the site formerly known as High Ridge Plaza, a property parcel on the western side of Main Street between the mini roundabout near the Shaw's supermarket and Hillvale Road. Three 14,000 square-feet buildings for retail are also part of the plan, replacing the smaller buildings which formerly housed other retail stores and outlets.
Work on the site is expected to start next month and a formal ground-breaking ceremony held sometime in April, said Kevin Mullaney, the vice president of the Long Island, N.Y.-based Mullaney Hospitality Group, which will operate the new hotel when it is constructed.
"We're excited to get started, finally," he said. Construction is expected to take about 12 months, and they hope to open the new hotel in April, 2017, he added.
Mullaney Hospitality Group took ownership of the 5.58 acre parcel on Feb. 1 from Iron Point Titan Asset Management, a Texas-based financial company which had acquired the property in 2009. The cost of the acquisition from Iron Point Titan was $3.2 million, according to records filed with the town office.
The plan is to construct the hotel and retail segments roughly concurrently, so that both are ready to open at more or less the same time. The retail buildings aren't expected to take as long to build as the hotel, and the retail buildings will be built as the hotel construction gets underway, Mullaney said.
The hotel will have a building footprint of about 21,550 square feet, according to the records filed with the town's zoning office. Each of the three retail buildings will have footprints of 7,000 square feet, with two stories on each to create buildings of 14,000 square feet in each of them. They will occupy the area facing Main Street, with the hotel located to the back of the site, further away from the road. The existing mini roundabout will also see a slight alteration, to improve access into the site, according to the plans on file with the town.
The Manchester area offers a potential market that made constructing the new hotel here an attractive possibility, Mullaney said in a phone interview last week.
"We've been looking at the market for a few years now, and I think because of the type of product that the Hilton/Hampton Inn is, it's one that will attract a new type of visitor to Manchester, one that may come to visit for the day and pass through — I do think it will bring a new market," he said.
One of the "new markets" both the Mullaney Group and town officials are hoping for are families who may come here for enhanced opportunities at the town's recreational playing field at the Dana Thompson Rec Park. Town officials are hoping next week's town meeting decisions include a green light for taking $75,000 from the town's Capital improvement Reserve and Contingency Fund to support construction and improvements to athletic fields there, with an eye towards creating a facility capable of hosting larger sports tournaments there.
"It gives us more opportunity," said Pauline Moore, the town's economic development officer, referring to the projected arrival of the Hampton Inn and Suites. "We're looking to build more fields at the Rec Park so we can have more tournaments for soccer and lacrosse and the Hampton Inn is a natural fit for where the families could stay."
Hampton Inn and Suites is a division of the Hilton Hotel chain, which operates about 4,600 hotels worldwide in about 100 countries and territories, according to its website. The Hilton affiliation means those customers can cash in loyalty points for stays at a Hampton Inn property, expanding the reach of the soon-to-be-constructed local lodging facility, Mullaney said.
"The power of the Hilton brand is a huge win," he said. "Folks can make reservations through the Hilton system and can utilize reward points to book rooms — it's one more avenue to put local businesses on the map and get national exposure."