NEW HAVEN — After years of trying to find a hotel operator who would locate on Route 34 on the development site where Continuum of Care has its headquarters, Mayor Toni Harp Monday said someone has come forward.
She said Choice Hotel, which represents such brands as Comfort Hotel , Sleep Inn, Clarion and Quality hotels, has indicated its interest to Yves Joseph, founding principal of RJ Development + Advisors LLC.
Joseph, whose partner is Jason Resnick, said he could not comment because the company has signed a confidentiality agreement with a hotel group, but the developer said “we are really, really excited about this.”
Joseph was a vice president for seven years with Centerplan when New Haven signed a land disposition agreement with that company for the development of the block on Route 34 across from Career High School.
A hotel would be the last piece for RJ Development + Advisors LLC as it looks to wrap up the project. In addition to Continuum of Care, there is a Rite Aid pharmacy and the Learning Center, a daycare facility. The child care facility took the place of a restaurant, which was in the original plan.
Joseph said it is not unusual for a mixed-use project to be developed in stages. He has been marketing the site since 2014.
“It will be special to get a hotel out of the ground,” Joseph commented.
A proposed garage and a medical/commerical building continues to be a potential for the site. Joseph said the garage remains a project for Robert Landino of Centerplan.
City officials said multiple hoteliers ultimately decided not to come to the site because of a neutrality agreement that the operator would have to sign with Unite HERE, which wants to unionize the staff. Harp said apparently Choice Hotels has no problem with that.
Harp thought the potential new hotel would have from 100 to 130 rooms. Acting Economic Development Administrator Michael Piscetelli would only say, “we’re encouraged.”
New Haven has had a shortage of hotels, but several recently have been approved, with The Blake, a new boutique hotel on High and George streets, open for business.
The former Duncan Hotel on Chapel Street is being converted to the Graduate New Haven Hotel, and a Hilton Garden Hotel will be located on the corner of Orange and Elm streets. Another hotel continues to be part of plans for the development of the former Coliseum site with Spinnaker Real Estate Partners taking the lead in that development.
While the Graduate New Haven renovations have been progressing, it stalled late last month when the Board of Zoning Appeals denied, without prejudice, a special exception on parking that is being blamed on union interests that were working on a neutrality agreement at that hotel. The company has since sued the BZA over the vote.
The former headquarters of Pirelli Tires on Long Wharf Drive, now owened by Ikea, has been approved for a hotel, as has a site on Elm street owned by developer David Kuperberg, both of which are moving slowly, according to Piscitelli.