Visitors wanting to spend some extra time in New Haven may soon have a new temporary place to call home.
At a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting held at 200 Orange St. Tuesday night, Courtyard Marriott developer Douglas Cohen of Newport Hotel Group, along with members of his design team and attorney James Perito, presented a plan to build a six-story residence inn adjacent to the hotel’s current 30 Whalley Ave. location.
The 115-room inn would be located on the corner of Elm and Howe Streets. Room layouts include a mix of studio-style and one-bedroom suites with kitchenettes.
Perito asked the board for permission for a floor-to-area ratio (FAR) increase from 2.0 to 2.4, meaning his team could build 20 percent more building than normally allowed on the space. He also requested a special exception to allow 216 parking spaces for both the hotel and residence inn, where 267 spaces are typically required. Of those spaces, 85 are off-site valet spots at 67 Whalley Ave. where a Midas Muffler shop used to be. The hotel would provide shuttle services to this area.
The board voted to send the request to the City Plan Commission for review.
Perito said Yale University has praised Courtyard Marriott for wanting to further benefit the city and nearby businesses.
He and Mayor Toni Harp also chatted about the project. Harp was “very supportive,” said Perito. “Everyone in the city has been very supportive.”
“There’s a need for an extended stay hotel [downtown],” Cohen said, noting its convenience factor for families and visitors.
Members of the public in attendance also voiced support for the project.
During their presentation, architect Kent Beirne of James A. Loft Architects, Inc. and designer David Golebiewski of TPA Design Group gave a sneak peek at what the finished product could look like.
At six-stories tall, the inn would feature a tower element in the center with custom cast stone lining the lower level. The second to fifth floors would be lined with brick, and the sixth floor with fiber panels. Planned amenities include a fitness center, free breakfast and access to a meeting room.
Marriott visitors can currently access the hotel’s parking lot through Elm Street, but once the new structure is put up, that entry would be eliminated.
However, Beirne said visitors can still enter and exit from the upper and lower parking garage levels onto Whalley Avenue and Howe Street.
If approved by the commission, the Residence Inn is planned to be up and running by spring 2016.
The building design looks like a nursing home. This hotel should promote bikes not cars in downtown NH. Are they going to hire LOCAL construction people???
posted by: anonymous on July 9, 2014 8:03am
Great idea to add a new hotel here.
Next, we should take advantage of the activity generated by all the new hotels and residential construction planned for Whalley by fixing the surrounding area. The ugly interchange of Howe, Broadway, Whalley, Goffe and Dixwell should be reconfigured by extending Broadway a block or two north past its current intersection with Tower Parkway (meeting Dixwell), and redirecting Dixwell to the west so that it intersects with Whalley near the current location of Popeye’s. Goffe could be ended at the new Dixwell extension, or farther up.
Doing this would eliminate the current situation with multiple traffic islands, make downtown much more attractive for children, families, and elderly people who need to walk, and create new land that can be used for new affordable housing and additional taxable real estate development worth tens of millions of dollars.
posted by: Pedro Soto on July 9, 2014 8:26am
Wendy1- generally a large portion of people who visit hotels drive to them from out of town, even in big cities with lots of mass transit.
They are also asking for LESS PARKING than is required by zoning, not more!
In case anyone is not clear as to where this is going- the site is currently surface parking and the Pizza at the Brick Oven restaurant (with all those logs), so this is a pretty big improvement to the location.
I’ve mentioned it before, and I will say it again- projects like this that are arising organically through the normal course of business, as opposed to requiring significant federal, state or city dollars, are a HUGE deal for the city.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on July 9, 2014 8:29am
In case anyone is confused, this is on the northeast corner of the intersection, basically on top of where Brick Oven Pizza is currently located.
It would replace the surface parking lot on Howe that is usually sitting open, and a barren space on Elm that has been land-banked for decades.
All-in-all this is a solid development for the neighborhood. But something still has to be done about the Kensington Square project, which makes a trip to St. Raphael’s unwalkable at night.
Indeed, wendy, and why doesn’t this development cure cancer?! I, too, am outraged that yet another successful business is expanding and helping create more tax revenue. I don’t want to live in a city which actually welcomes out of town guests unless they come on unicycles! More unicycle parking!
posted by: robn on July 9, 2014 9:39am
If we’re going to give out zoning exceptions we should demand better architecture. This is flat, trite and ho-hum highway rest stop architecture.
(BTW, unlegislated FAR increases are almost unheard of in other cities because they are susceptible to corruption; it creates real estate rights out of thin air and is an arbitrary reward for favorite developers)
posted by: Nathan on July 9, 2014 11:49am
This is more great news for the downtown area. Hopefully someone will purchase and improve the corner properties on Whalley and Howe and get rid of the street parking on Whalley in front, which is a hazard to all users of the road.
posted by: Esteban on July 9, 2014 12:57pm
Thanks to Scooper for pointing out what needs to be understood about the few blocks immediately northwest of the Park Howe Dwight area. Kensington Square is a high crime pocket of subsidized housing that has plagued this neighborhood for over 20 years. Any suggestion of connecting neighborhoods or hospitals without addressing the problems of the Kensington square project is doomed to fail. How many of you actually walk Chapel or Edgewood or Elm from Westville to downtown in the daytime…never mind night.
Anderson Scooper, Until recently I would have agreed with you about Kensington Square. I have been walking by there on all sides including Kensington Street at night over the last few months. It has been clean and safe on all accounts.
I would cautiously say that things are starting to improve in Kensington Square. I’ve also noticed that when I report issues on SeeClickFix the management team there is very quick to respond.
It seems that better management of the outside spaces and hopefully of the inside spaces as well as the massive drug pin crackdown two years back has made a dramatic impact.
Hopefully your impression of Kensington Square are more the legitimate traces of history than the current reality. We’ll need more time to see.
posted by: M Short on July 9, 2014 3:10pm
@Ben B @ AS
Agree AND disagree.
I agree that Kensington Square (actually two entities called Kensington Square 1 and Kensington Square 2, owned and controlled by “The Community Builders” a national non-profit HQ in Boston) has stepped up their game recently.
One data point is that their top leadership at TCB in Boston has changed in the last two years from one person who had been there for 20+ years to a new person that I am told is well respected.
TCB was the former owner of Church Street South, and sold that site a couple of years ago to Northland.
They have performed, I believe, refinances of their properties at at least one of the two entities (K1 or K2) recently. Refis of Low Income Housing properties are structurally very different from refis of market properties, and I won’t go into that, but what we can infer is that implicit is a ‘no intent to change broad strategy’ connoted in that action.
I live very nearby, and have for 10+ years. I have an administrative staffer at my company that moved into a temporary apartment across from St Raphaels. Although the location is amazing, she will not stay there because she does not feel safe in the area, and references particularly the properties owned by TCB as part of the cause.
My theory is that because K1 & K2 consists of 40+ properties, and many of them could and might be attractive for homeownership, as well as a couple of larger buildings which represent clustering of Low Income Housing which is an antiquated approach to delivering Low Income Housing, and because TCB is increasingly active in projects in our municipality that require City and other government financing, that their further participation in this City’s low income housing development should be predicated on a satisfactory agreement about mid-term strategy for RE-scattering the affordable units that comprise K1 and K2 in a manner that is based on a contemporary model and strategy.
posted by: M Short on July 9, 2014 3:12pm
Regarding this development, I have faith that the owners/developers will sensibly engage the neighborhood and make reasonable concessions and that if executed properly, this development, can, should, will happen. More density in this neighborhood is generally desireable.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on July 9, 2014 4:36pm
@BB & Matt—Short-term improvements due to “recent changes in management” can’t mask the devastating effect that Kensington Square, drug gangs and a handful of other bad landlords have brought to Dwight-Edgewood.
It’s an absolute travesty that one can’t walk safely from downtown to St. Raphael’s, or from Westville to downtown via Chapel or Edgewood. Why? It’s certainly not because of the majority of decent folks living in the neighborhood.
Kensington Square is a failure and a blight on the neighborhood. It should be replaced with something new and better in the Route 34 West corridor. I mean Elm Haven, Brookside, Q Terrace, etc have all gone through the replacement cycle. When does Dwight get the new housing, and the relief from Kensington Square?
posted by: RhyminTyman on July 9, 2014 6:53pm
Wendy1 bikes at a hotel really? These people are getting here by cars full of luggage.
posted by: Ayeokay on July 9, 2014 8:09pm
@Esteban - I walk from Westville to downtown and back via Elm Street everyday. It’s always a pleasant experience. Things have improved.
This building is exactly the kind of development that we need. It fits in with many of the existing buildings, and is a good height. Five story buildings in an area like this should be encouraged. I’m optimistic about this. I hope that the project goes through smoothly.
posted by: Brian Tang on July 9, 2014 10:21pm
Dang, I would hate to see brick oven go. I love that place.
I hope the designers will at least refine their proposal to include wide sidewalks and street trees. It’s in their own best interest, as this intersection has a lot of bright lights and noise at night, especially Fridays and Saturdays. I don’t want to hear them complaining about it when their guests can’t sleep!
posted by: HewNaven on July 10, 2014 7:12am
What happens when ‘3 Sheets’ (i.e. ‘Old Rudy’s’) has loud metal shows every Friday and Saturday, as they do currently?
posted by: Threefifths on July 10, 2014 10:18am
To all of you who live around this area.This will be you.
Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner forcing residents out of East Village building so he can get higher rents: tenants Kushner, husband to Ivanka Trump and owner of the New York Observer, has reportedly been trying to evict tenants from 170-174 E. Second St. so he can renovate the apartments and rent to richer residents.
Anderson, My point is that I do walk safely. The only thing that makes me feel uncomfortable is the signs that tell me I’m being filmed by some quasi governmental agency.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on July 10, 2014 12:30pm
Yeah, well I walk just about anywhere in this City, (without blinking or being scared.) But I wouldn’t walk those blocks at night, alone or in company.
Plus I don’t think it’s fair to generalize from one person to another. The fact is that almost everyone working at St. Raphael’s or living in Beaver Hills or Westville will not walk back and forth to downtown, particularly at night.
“almost everyone working at St. Raphael’s or living in Beaver Hills or Westville” sounds like a bit of generalization Scooper.
Besides, isn’t Bo enough cover for you?
posted by: cttaxpayer on July 11, 2014 12:49pm
Residency Inns are a bit different than your average hotel in that folks tend to stay more than one night- often a long time. Suites are little apartments.
If they average 70% occupancy the impact of all those new visitors using restaurants, shops and even markets will be huge. New Haven will be well served to have the Marriott folks spending money in their city.
posted by: ElmCitizen on July 11, 2014 2:30pm
There is little to no short to medium-term housing in the town that is not airbnb or the likes (e.g. rental, hotel). We are losing this business - and there IS business - to other towns, or losing it entirely, and/or making it very hard for people to find appropriate and comfortable ways for people to come to New Haven for a short-medium term, at a reasonable price, with flexibility and proximity to downtown. I don’t see landlords restructuring leasing rules, or sublets solving this issue. I think there is a market. I am not enamored with the design - it’s a hotel - too bad there isn’t a beautiful building awaiting adaptive reuse. But it seems like a win. Non subsidized, major chain, anchoring a fledgling block, taxpaying….
posted by: anonymous on July 11, 2014 2:37pm
Scooper: I walk around the K-street area all the time and there are always dozens of people walking to and from Downtown/Yale, St. Raphael’s, and the Westville, Beaver Hills or Edgewood Park areas.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on July 11, 2014 3:13pm