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'Delamar West Hartford' Will Become Town's New Hotel

West Hartford's Raymond Road property will become a boutique hotel, with 100-120 rooms, banquet facilities, and a great restaurant, developers say.

At a press conference Monday morning at West Hartford Town Hall, Town Manager Ron Van Winkle made the announcement that many were waiting to years to hear.

"A high quality hotel is something we've been looking for, for more than a decade," Van Winkle said.

Van Winkle announced that Delamar West Hartford LLC – a joint venture of Greenwich Hospitality Corp. of Greenwich, CT, which operates a number of hotels in Connecticut, including the Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel and the Delamar Southport, and The Matos Group, LLC, a real estate development firm based in East Hartford, CT – has been chosen out of the three finalists interviewed to develop a hotel on Raymond Road in West Hartford's Blue Back Square.

"Their presentation just blew us out of the water," Van Winkle said of Delamar. The committee felt that the group clearly understood the market, and would be able to develop the 90 Raymond Road property into a boutique hotel unique to the area.

Dan Matos, president of The Matos Group (TMG) and a partner in the newly-formed Delamar West Hartford LLC, brought a personal element to the proposal. The Blue Back Square resident believes he knows exactly what the town is trying to achieve with this development.

"West Hartford needed other important assets to build the Center, to achieve the vision. One of those is a hotel," Matos said. "There is no other hotel like the Delamar Hotel in all of the region."

Matos, whose company has worked locally on development projects that include Cabela's, Rentschler Field, and the UConn Business School, as well as nationally for companies that include FedEx, Ford Motor Company, and Home Depot, said the Delamar Hotel will "lift up the entire region," increasing employment and bringing needed resources to the area.

"We were very excited when we heard about the opportunity," said Charles Mallory, founder and partner of the Greenwich Hospitality Group. "Other than Fairfield County, this is the only place [in Connecticut] we would consider for this type of hotel."

Mallory said that the region's hotel inventory is essentially national flags at the mid-level, corporate/convention level or less, and he believes the area's demography and corporate demand will support a high level boutique hotel. Mallory cited the similarities between West Hartford and the towns of Greenwich and Southport, where the Greenwich Hospitality Group has recently developed its top-line Delamar hotels.

The region's educational institutions, world class museums, and proximity to the state capitol as well as ESPN also make West Hartford a desirable location for the planned development, Mallory said.

"West Hartford is a wonderful location and I understand why people want to be here. It's a dream come true from our point of view – a great fit – an opportunity to build something great," Mallory said. He hopes to bring residents of the area a special place to host life's memories – weddings, family reunions, Bar Mitzvahs, he said.

Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Greenwich Hospitality Group Samantha Stout grew up in the area, and attended Renbrook School from kindergarten through 9th grade. Her parents still live here.

"This is a distinct brand. It really is about creating an experience, creating memories. For this community it's the right fit, and will be a very personalized experience," she said.

The Raymond Road property has already been declared surplus by the town, and Van Winkle said that the arrangement with Delamar will be either a lease or sale. The next phase will be specific site development, and then plans will be brought to the Town Council for approval.

Van Winkle said that late spring/early summer is the goal for zoning approval, and then the project will be able to move forward. Matos said that the current plan is still in the concept stage, and there will be a lot more input before it is finalized.

Mallory said that the initial plan is just "blocking and massing," and much more work will be done on the design. A sketch of the proposed hotel is included, but all parties agree that it is just a concept, and the façade will still need to be determined. Mallory hopes to bring in some of the "quirkiness" and "charm" of the other Delamar hotels. "This is a wonderful opportunity to build on [the area's] architectural history," he said.

When constructed, the hotel will include 100-120 rooms. Mallory said there would be a "wide variety of rooms and suites, including some that cater to 'presidential' sorts of visitors."

It will be a "full scale hotel with a great restaurant," said Mallory, adding that both the Delamar Greenwich and Delamar Southport hotel restaurants have four-star ratings. Delamar Greenwich has just been named to Travel & Leisure's top 500 list for the second year in a row, one of only two Connecticut hotels on the list.

The hotel will also contain:

  • Banquet space for 300-400, which will be flexible and able to be scaled back for smaller gatherings. The banquet space will also be adaptable for convention gatherings, and will open up onto the lawn overlooking Trout Brook. It may have a separate entrance.
  • Spa facility. This will include beauty and massage therapy, but will not try to compete with existing facilities such as New York Sports Club in Blue Back Square.
  • Rooftop components to take advantage of the open views. Mallory said the roof may be the location for the spa, health center, a food and beverage spot, and/or maybe a small pool.
  • Retail facility/gallery. This will be pedestrian friendly and build on the existing aspects of Blue Back Square, Mallory said.

Mallory said there will be extensive landscaping – "an opportunity to be really beautiful."

Stout said that "green and efficient systems" are also very important to the development. "The project will be designed to a LEED gold standard," she said.

As for parking, Mallory said, "That's always the 800-pound gorilla in every development, other than this one."

He and Matos both said that the hotel will be able to "share the town's assets" and utilize the existing garages at Blue Back Square (Memorial and Isham) as well as the surface lot at Town Hall, during a time that they would otherwise not be occupied. Any parking on site at the hotel would be very limited, said Matos.

Matos said that when the group began looking into this project, the first thing they did was walk around Blue Back Square and the Center. "We aren't going to duplicate that, but will add to the assets of the community," he said.

The process of developing Blue Back Square was extremely complicated, with a public/private partnership that resulted in extensive lobbying and a referendum before building could commence. "This is a business relationship," said Van Winkle and will not be as time consuming.

The hope is for the Delamar West Hartford to be open for business in less than three years. "When we started the conversation we were very conservative about the schedule. We said Christmas 2015, but in Charles' and my book we'd like to beat that," Matos said.

"These are Connecticut people designing a hotel for Connecticut people," Matos said. "And we want the community involved in the process."

Kathy December 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM
So very sad that this is happening...the green space that was supposed to be turned into something very nice that NEVER happened. Shame on the town officials to not follow through with what was promised.
Lisa Bonarrigo December 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Don't think a "boutique" hotel is what is really needed. Personally I would like some rooms at reasonable rates so when family come to town for holidays and celebrations I don't have to send them to the Courtyard by the mall. For people coming from out of town and already incurring the cost of travel an expensive hotel would not fit the bill.
Gumbo YaYa December 18, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Kathy ~ You're so right, we get hosed again. I can see where retailers and restaurants will benefit but we'll get nothing but more traffic. Great - just great. They've misused the term to candy coat the place too, 100-120 rooms is hardly a boutique hotel. That space would be a perfect seasonal outdoor skating rink with small cafe - like the one in Westerly. At the town hall unveiling of Blue Back design many years ago the drawings and model showed a skating rink....
MARION CONKLIN December 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Outdoor skating rink with small cafe? How wonderful! Just a small green space to enjoy in the summer? A breath of fresh air! West Hartford is not Greenwich or Southport - thankfully! I lived in one and know the other well. A million dollars almost buys a house there. Again, WHEN DO THE RESIDENTS GET TO VOTE ON THIS?
Local Guy December 18, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Good, it will accent nicely with the Center/BB. For those concerned about room rates there is the West Hartford Inn. For those who want for green space there is the West Hartford res, and the town parks that already exist for the purposes of green space/recreation. All in all this is not a bad idea considering condos are the likely other choice.
Gumbo YaYa December 18, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Local Guy ~ Thanks but we know about the parks and the Res. I'm suprised you didn't say we should be pacified with the green space in the middle of South Main Street. The WH Inn - oh PLEASE. I would never send any out of town guests there. The hotel should go where the PO is, or atop one of the public parking surface lots, hell since developers foot the bill have them implode the old garage and go up with the hotel.
Local Guy December 18, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Gumbo, gumbo, gumbo, the world does not revolve around your need for yet another place to sip coffee in the center, the town center is for doing business, and those businesses catering to their clientele. If you need so badly to decompress fill a thermos and go to fernridge park and chill for a while, isn't there a rink in washington park?? or how about the rink across from the pool by the golf course, you it seems need to duplicate services that already exist in a plentiful way in this town. Did you make a proposal to the town about this parcels use or are you just kavetching(sp) about something that you want someone else to do for you??? Take a deep breath, let it out slowly and realize it could be condos instead...
VC December 18, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Will this hotel stop our taxes from going up AGAIN?? Oh wait, Blue Back was supposed to help with that.
Lisa Petersen December 18, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I am concerned about the parking with the hotel taking spaces in the existing garages where it's sometimes hard to get a space now and they're not close enough to the hotel for many hotel guests or banquet guests. I'd like to see it a requirement that they have a substantial number of parking spaces - could they use the property where the burned out basement remains/old Wizard of Paws on the other side of Whole Foods?
tom December 18, 2012 at 09:12 PM
When I moved here, the promise was that Blue Back was going to significantly reduce taxes. Ours have increased significantly over the five years we have been here. I would hope that this hotel proposal will truly have a positive impact on our taxes!
R.C. Pond December 19, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Amazing how part of the deal for Blue Back square was to use that vacant land for a park, concert area. How does this now happen?
Hank the Bank December 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Just like the annual award of hundreds of vacation days to the top 20 at Town Hall, that in turn are cashed in for salary and increases pension payouts, this one stinks of "friends and family". This was open park area when Blue Back was shoved down our throats by the lefties. Ask all the business owners that have closed down if they think it's a success.
Burris Cohen December 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Parking is going to be limited? Buffalo built the same thing, a boutique downtown, but parking was located a half block away in the city garage. This project is going to be another boondoggle for the Town and as the politicians who approved Blue Back said before it was built, "By the time your realize what we've done, you'll be unable to catch up to us - we'll be long gone."
VC December 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Will this help bring back the vacuum leaf collection?
WH Resident 30s December 19, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I like the hotel and the economic lift to the area. Could have picked a way worse hotel or condos. The website of the other hotels looks like they're nicely designed. http://www.delamargreenwich.com/
chuck richards December 21, 2012 at 09:21 PM
totaly agree with you. looking at the greenwich Delamar they want $240 a night vs the greenwich hyatt at $115 a mle down the road. which would you choose? Really disapoinnted the town choose this option.

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