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West Hartford Receives 7 Proposals for Hotel on Raymond Road Property

Town officials are pleased with the number and will vet the proposals as the process moves forward.

When West Hartford decided to pursue a full-service hotel on 4 acres of town land adjacent to , officials weren't sure how much interest they would see in a still-shaky economy.

About two-and-a-half months after putting out a request for proposal (RFP), town officials opened seven large packages in town hall on Wednesday afternoon in the next step of a detailed process to find the right hotel for the property.

The number of proposals was "almost better than we expected," Town Manager Ron Van Winkle said. "Seven is a great number."

"The story is that people are interested in investing in our town at a time when the economy is still not so great," Rob Rowlson, West Hartford's director of community services, said on Wednesday.

The bidders are: Hospitality 3 of New Haven; Roadel Companies of Wilton, NY; The Oak Park Group LLC of West Hartford; Allied Engineering Associates of Canaan, CT; Sullivan Hayes Companies Northeast of Farmington; Wos & Wos Development Corporation of Rye Brook, NY; and Robert B. Friedman Group of Woodbury, NY.

According to the RFP, the town is seeking a full service hotel that offers appropriate amenities, with approximately 120 rooms — either an independent boutique or with a flag property. The site is at the intersection of Memorial and Raymond roads, opposite the .

Rowlson said on Wednesday that town officials would go through the stacks of proposals and see what's there before proceeding.

"They'll be detailed," he said. "We'll understand what the proposal constitutes."

When the RFP went out in late May, Van Winkle said the town would look carefully at the qualifications of bidders and the financing they have available.

Chris Johnson, director of financial services, said the process could take quite a while depending on what has been submitted. If town officials aren't happy with any of the proposals, they will reassess the situation. 

"Typically, we'll go through the process and see where we end up," he said. "If we're not comfortable, we'll step back and see where we want to be."

According to the RFP, "the Town of West Hartford is interested in working with a development team which has substantial experience in the planning, construction and operation of a full service hotel. The property will be sold or leased “as-is.” The preferred proposal will reflect purchase or long-term lease options which best meet the needs of hotel developers and the overall financial, planning, zoning, commercial and social interests of the community."

Sarah August 15, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Has there been an environmental impact study about how Trout Brook will be affected?
Brian Corey August 15, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Environmental impact....Town Council doesn't care. At least that's my opinion. They have all ready gone against the zoning committee that recommended against a hotel. Remember when this land was suppose to be green space made nice? That would have been something all demographics could have enjoyed. Vote Blue Back and actually gain green space was the pitch. Ha, it was never seriously pursued. I think the plan all along was to bring in a boutique hotel. Now what demographic in town most benefits from this? Sorry, wasn't thinking...my taxes will certainly go down big time as a result of this. Just as it has with all the other development. :)
MARION CONKLIN August 16, 2012 at 10:52 AM
How is this happening? Usurping this little corner of green space, a breath of fresh air in the hardscape that is Blue Back. How about finding property that would be improved by the addition of a hotel, such as the unsightly area just North of Whole Foods on Raymond Rd? Has it been said that nobody uses this little green space? Wonderful! We all benefit from the solace of the peace and quiet of having this little piece of green within the midst of the busy-ness of Blue Back. Perhaps I missed it. Have the residents had a chance to vote on the use, and possible preservation of, this green corner?
Roberta Echelson August 16, 2012 at 02:07 PM
The map seems to show the proposed hotel located on the west side of Raymond Road. That's confusing because that space is actually occupied by Blue Back Square buildings. This open space plot is on the east side of Raymond. I agree that the open space there, leading down to Trout Brook, is valuable in an area that is so intensely developed. The Town has been working to re-connect us with Trout Brook, making walkways accessible and safe. A hotel at this location could seriously detract from that effort. On Raymond Road (heading toward Farmington Ave.), further north of Whole Foods, there is space that would be more appropriate although it is probably in private hands. Further removed from Trout Brook and less attractive as open space, that area would make better sense for a hotel.
David Roberts August 16, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Excellent opportunity to capture business travelers who would normally be booked into Farmington, Cromwell and S. Windsor. This is definitlely be the place where corporate execs will introduce new people to entice them to move to the area from out of town, additionally this will assist the center with more feet on the street in town. I hope that a project like this has some smart design elements, and improve the grand list and tax relief.
Nancy Cooner August 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
I can't imagine that the Trout Brook, being a wildlife corridor, WOULD NOT be negatively impacted by this development. But I agree with Mr. Corey - the Town Council doesn't care. They see dollar signs - I see higher taxes and a soon to be vacant building, slowly becoming an additional blight to this town. Nancy Cooner
Horatio August 17, 2012 at 12:59 AM
i have never seen any type of event, or people in that green space. put it to good use.
Gumbo YaYa August 19, 2012 at 03:02 PM
@Horatio - there's been a few events there that I've seen. One was a great pet oriented day with various vendors etc. I'd like to see it remain green like the SOBs said it would. We got had for sure.... It's a shame they haven't found time or money to add a gazebo, some plantings, benches, paths etc.
WeHa guy August 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM
A hotel in the downtown area is one thing. Building on green space (which is scarce to begin with in WeHa) is another. Others have suggested - and I agree with them - that this would be better-suited on that old, abandoned site just north of Whole Foods, where the dog-grooming center used to be. It's just sitting there unused and it's a major eyesore. We keep talking about sustainability, going green and smart growth. Well, wouldn't preserving open space and instead building on blighted areas be a better example of this?
Angelo Casagrande August 24, 2012 at 02:22 AM
A nice hotel around Blue Back would do very well, but not at the expense of what little green space we have. Put some nice walkways, some trees and flowers, and you have a space people would love to frequent. Unfortunately, I think the Town Council is seeing $$. Selling our promised green space is not right.

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