Planners give nod to new hotel

MANCHESTER - The Manchester Planning Commission supported the decision made by previous town boards - effectively giving their approval - for the construction of the Turkish hotel and spa proposed by Vermont Turquoise Hospitality, LLC on a property across from Town Hall during its meeting Monday night.

Vermont Turquoise Hospitality, LLC brought the plan for the 80 room, 74,000 square foot resort before the planning commission to gain further support before applying for their Act 250 permit with the state.

The Development Review Board approved the project last year, but the permit is currently under appeal.

One of the questions raised by the commission regarding the project throughout the hour long presentation was how it would benefit the community economically.

Project Manager Robert Jones responded by saying that creation of the resort would be beneficial in a variety of ways.

"Obviously we're looking at a large number of employees. The projection at this stage is somewhere around 320 full- and part-time employees," said Jones. "In addition to the 320, we're expecting an indirect benefit to the regional area of around about another 280 and these are figures that have been put together by an economic survey group down in Boston. It's not unrealistic. The question that comes up when you have that sort of number is where are we going to find them."

Jones said that there are a lot of people returning from the military seeking employment and while there are programs in place encouraging the Federal government to hire them, not many employees have taken advantage of the programs. Jones said that they see themselves as being in a position to offer these people jobs.

"The good thing about service men and women is that they're used to serving and that's what a hotel is all about. So, we expect to get good skilled people with good dedication and that hopefully will take care of the employment situation," Jones said. "That, I think, is perhaps one of the biggest benefits for this community. The more people we can give a full-time or substantial job to, the more money can be spent in town, which helps every business in town."

If and when the resort is built, Jones said they expect the bulk of their clientele to come from Europe and to a lesser degree Asia. Jones said that they already have "substantial connections" throughout Europe and are looking to bring a new brand of visitors to the area - something he also said would be beneficial to the area.

"That's going to bring people who are just going to do everything you can imagine in the area. It could be biking, it could be skiing on the mountain, it most definitely will be outlet shopping because I can tell you from my experience the prices here are much better than in most parts of Europe," said Jones. "If our plans work as we believe they will, there will also be overflow. That overflow [has] got to go somewhere. There is substantial economic benefits for the region, not just the town."

Jones said that it is also the intention of the owners, Alpaslan Basdogan and Suzanne Tremblay, to purchase as many local materials as possible from the building materials to local produce. Jones said that they are looking at a target area of 25 miles in any direction of the resort.

As far as the architectural design, Kane said that there will primarily be three materials used - wood, stone and zinc - with as many of the materials being sourced locally as possible. The two spa areas of the building will include a dome on the roof - a feature that Kane said was important to the Mediterranean tradition. At one point the plan included tennis courts, but that has since been eliminated.


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