MANCHESTER — The Hampton Inn and Suites project is underway, nearly two years after the original permits were issued by town officials.
The $17.7 million project — the first national franchise hotel approved by the town — was celebrated at a ground-breaking ceremony on Friday.
It was the culmination of a lot of work, thoughtful conversation and careful planning, said Kevin Mullaney, vice president for Mullaney Hospitality Group, the project's developer. He said close collaboration between town planners and the architect resulted in a building that fits into the area.
"The objective was to design it to look like it's been here," Mullaney said.
The result is a 62,000 square-foot, 97-room inn that looks nothing like any of the other more than 2,000 Hampton Inns around the world, he said.
The building is meant to resemble an old tavern or inn originally built over 100 years ago, said Rolf Biggers with BMA Architectural Group of Amherst, N.H. His firm designed the hotel. Serving as site plan designer was the similarly named Manchester Center based firm, BMA Architects and Planners.
Biggers spoke of balancing old with new — finding the right design that compliments the aesthetic of a Vermont village while incorporating modern touches. The design includes local architectural themes and features like clapboard siding, a pitched roof and colonial shutters.
Biggers said to avoid the perception that the hotel is large, the building's design was broken up and includes "rambling additions like you see on New England properties as they grow."
Construction is expected to take about 12 months and the hotel is scheduled to open in early summer 2017. The project calls for building a new, three-story hotel and three retail stores on the western side of Main Street. Local approval from the Development Review Board and state approval from the Act 250 Commission were granted in 2014.
It's one of three hotels that signified a hotel "boom." The Taconic Hotel opened in December. The Aeolus Mountain Spa and Hotel, a Turkish spa, is also planned.
The Hampton Inn is sited on the former High Ridge Plaza, a 5.8 acre, under-utilized shopping center and parking lot near the mini-roundabout. Mullaney Hospitality Group acquired the site for $3.2 million in February. The project called for removing seven structures on the site. Mullaney said site work is underway in the back of the property, and is moving towards the street.
Mullanney said that, as the hotel is constructed, work will progress on the retail portion. The three retail buildings — each two stories with 7,000 square foot footprints for a total of 14,000 square feet each — will be situated close to Main Street. The hotel will be further away from the site.
Mullaney said the retail spaces will likely be leased and could be subdivided depending on the tenants' individual space needs.
"We're in talks with parties, but we don't have anyone signed on yet," he said.
Financing for the $17.7 million project was obtained from Mascoma Savings Bank, with partial financing from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), according to the developer. The inn is expected to create 30 new jobs in Manchester, along with supporting over 100 construction and service jobs in the region. Hutter Construction of New Ipswich, N.H. is the general contractor.
Hampton Inn and Suites is a division of the Hilton Hotel chain, which operates about 4,600 hotels worldwide.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979