Some hotel and motel owners - such as Bruce Welsh, co-owner of the Aspen Motel - have expressed concerns about the ramifications the project could have on existing businesses if the project were to come to fruition.
"I realize it's going to be a specific kind of lodge. I'm sure they'll target it to a specific clientele, but when and if that specific clientele doesn't show up then they're going to draw off the general population, which I think will be detrimental to most of the other places in town," said Welsh. "It's a resort like the Equinox Hotel. The Equinox Hotel brings in pretty much their own guests, they run specific events, and they target a certain market. When they are full it spills over to the rest of the town, but when they're not full they run specials that draws from the rest of the town. So, it's going to be the same kind of thing."
However, other owners in the business - such as Frank Hanes, the co-owner of the Inn at Manchester and Peter Boll, owner of the Palmer House - said they don't regard the possibility of the new hotel being an undue threat.
"I think that the addition of this type of facility would not affect us," said Hanes. "I think it's a totally different animal from what we're doing here." Boll said that while, like a new restaurant,
Both Boll and Hanes felt that the if the hotel, restaurant and spa were to come to fruition that it could be beneficial for the town.
"They mentioned that they had a particular clientele that they were looking at and focused at a different market and I think the community could benefit from that," said Hanes. "I think any business that comes in that draws people and is successful is a plus for everybody."
Both Hanes and Boll said that the people who chose to stay at the hotel would have to travel Route 7A and in the course of doing so would see other establishments - such as their own - that they may be interested in staying in in the future.
Executive Director of the Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce, Berta Maginniss, also indicated that the project could be beneficial for the town.
"From our perspective it's healthy that people feel the economy is strong enough to propose such a project and we presume that anyone proposing a project like this has done some due diligence on what they can expect in terms of revenue," Maginniss said. "If we have more folks coming than we have presently then that's a plus for us, but as to (if) this is the project that brings it I can't really speak to that."
The project is being proposed by Alpaslan Bashdogan and his business partner Suzanne Tremblay, who has operated hotels in Canada. Bashdogan currently is an owner of Depot 62, a restaurant and furniture store on Depot Street, as well as the President of Asia Minor Carpets Inc. - a wholesale supplier to the carpet industry as well as trade and interior decorators and designers that is based in Manchester, according to the company's Web site.
The hotel restaurant and spa is expected to be about 74,000 square feet and according to Manchester Planning Director and Zoning Administrator Lee Krohn, it meets all the criteria in the town's zoning bylaws.
According to Ryan Downey, survey crew chief and engineering aid with Speath Engineering, 16.7 acres of developable land was required for the project and 23.4 acres were being provided. Downey also said that about 19 acres would be open space and they also had another 20 acres of open space on the other side of the property.
Several of the people in attendance at last Wednesday night's Design and Development Review Board meeting voiced concerns about parking as many felt that the 163 parking spaces that would be provided would not be enough to accommodate both guests and employees. Under the town's bylaws, only 118 spaces were required to be provided.
Those in attendance also voiced concerns about the potential noise impact that the hotel would have. Specifically brought into question was the plan for a rooftop lounge. Initially, residents believed that a bar was going to be on the roof and worried about the noise that would result from loud music. Concerns about noise that would be created by the people using the lounge, as well as the outdoor pool, were also expressed after Basdogan said that there would be no music.
The hearing on the hotel, restaurant, and spa will be continued at the next DRB meeting on Wednesday, June 27. The meeting will be held in the Kilburn Meeting Room at Town Hall and will begin at 7:30 p.m.