Shovels Readied For “Rt. 34 West” Hotel

By September 14, 2020Press

A Maryland-based hotel chain plans to break ground this November on a 130-room upscale hotel atop a surface parking lot on Dwight Street — ushering in the final development currently slated for the “Route 34 West” superblock.

Those construction plans are outlined in a six-page slideshow recently presented to the Dwight Community Management Team.

The document, which can be read in full here, focuses on the upcoming construction of a new Cambria hotel at the current surface lot at 20 Dwight St.

The presentation states that construction should begin in November and last 15 months, with the hotel built and open by March 2022.

Choice Hotels International, the parent hotel company that includes the Cambria brand, won site plan approval from the City Plan Commission last fall to build a new six-story, 130-room hotel at the site. Soon thereafter, Choice purchased the lot—which sits at the corner of Dwight and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard—for $2.8 million from a holding company owned by West Hartford’s Jason Rudnick and New Haven’s Yves-Georges Joseph II.

“The construction of the hotel will give visitors to New Haven another quality lodging option while providing residents with job opportunities during development and construction as well as opportunities in hotel staffing upon the project’s completion,” reads a flyer put together by Choice Hotels International about the new hotel.

Thomas Breen photo


The current lot at Dwight and MLK.

The hotel is the latest, and final, planned development to come from a 2014 Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) that has already led to the construction of Continuum of Care, Rite Aid, The Learning Experience, and an adjacent four-story, 763-space parking garage.

The presentation states that the new Cambria hotel will be roughly 75,000 square feet large. It will be six stories tall, have 130 guest rooms, be constructed of concrete and steel with masonry and fiber cement facade.

The city’s building permit database shows that, on Aug. 31, the hotel operator paid a $287,066.36 as part of its application for a construction-non-residential building permit.

The permit states that the estimated cost of construction for the hotel is $9,485,500.

City development chief Michael Piscitelli.

The imminent Cambria construction comes at a time when other builders across the city have struggled to secure financing for new hotels amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the related economic slam to the hospitality industry.

“I think it’s in part due to location,” city Economic Development Administrator Michael Piscitelli (pictured) recently told the Independent about why he thinks the Cambria hotel is proceeding apace even as others, like the Spinnaker-planned Hilton to be built at the corner of Elm Street and Orange Streets downtown, have ground to a halt.

“The medical center is a strong opportunity,” he said about the Cambria’s placement near Yale New Haven Hospital. And, he added about Cambria, “that brand is a growing brand for choice.” Hilton hotels across the country, meanwhile, appear to be in significant trouble, with the 44-story one in Times Square recently closing for good.

In an email statement sent to the Independent Monday morning, Jeff Gross, Choice’s managing director for real estate investment and asset management, affirmed the hotel company’s intent to keep building even during the pandemic.

“Over the past few months, COVID-19 has certainly impacted the hotel industry as a whole, and several revenue metrics have been impacted in the short term. However, we remain positive on the long-term outlook for New Haven and its future growth prospects.”

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