By Bridget Botelho
After some delay, plans to build a hotel on Division Street in Pawtucket are moving forward – only now, the hotel will be a Hampton Inn instead of a proposed Holiday Inn Express, according to developers.
Johnston developers Carpionato Properties, which built the Crowne Plaza at the Crossings and Holiday Inn Express hotels in Warwick, decided to switch the brand from the planned Holiday Inn, which was approved by Pawtucket City Council last summer, to a Hampton Inn, delaying the plans, according to Kelly Coates, senior vice president of Carpionato Properties.
“We decided to switch from a Holiday Inn Express to a Hampton Inn because although the Holiday Inns are what you put into them, the Hampton Inns allow for a bit more,” Coates said.
The Hampton Inn franchise allows for meeting spaces and a restaurant necessary for a targeted corporate market, whereas a Holiday Inn Express would not, according to Coates.
After missing the planned Feb. 9 closing date, the Pawtucket City Council demanded that Carpionato Properties prove its financing and franchise approval by March 10 or they would drop the project. The company missed that deadline as well, but plans are moving forward, the company said.
“The delay was not due to financing – we never have any issues with getting financing. We wanted to make sure this project will get done properly, so we were doing marketing studies and working on the design and all of that,” Coates said. “There is ample opportunity to do something quickly and wrong. We want this to be done right.”
Pawtucket Director of Planning and Redevelopment Michael D. Cassidy said he received a letter from the Hilton Hotels Corp., which owns the Hampton Inn franchise, on March 23, confirming that the Carpionato development was granted approval to use that brand.
Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of the summer, Coates said, after the company hopes to have plans re-approved by the Pawtucket Planning and Redevelopment Committee and city and the proper permits are acquired. The first 100 rooms of the 200-room project are expected to cost $12 million and will open before the rest of the project is completed, possibly by spring 2005. In all, Coates said the entire project is expected to cost between $20 million and $25 million.
Among the reasons the developers chose the 7.2-acre piece of property with a view of the Seekonk River is because of its proximity to Interstate 95 and because it will be the only hotel between Providence and Mansfield, Mass., Coates said.
The only other hotel in Pawtucket is a Comfort Inn on George Street.
Manhattan Hotel Development LLC is also working on the project.
A Chevrolet car dealership occupied the land until 1999, when the city of Pawtucket took it over, losing more than $77,000 in property taxes revenue. The property is now assessed at $1,080,000, according to Pawtucket Tax Assessor David L. Quinn. At the current tax rate of 24.89 percent, the property has potential to earn $268,812.
Standards for the hotel will be enforced by Hampton Inn and operations will be run by Carpionato Properties, Coates said.
Carpionato Properties was also chosen to build a hotel on downtown Providence’s parcel 12, a triangular-shaped piece of land where sculptures now stand across the street from the east end of the Union Station complex.
Coates said a hotel will be built on the property within the next couple of years, but the process will be more complicated than in Pawtucket because of “significant geo-technical issues with the land, committees to go through and permits to obtain.”