A new hotel for Morristown? The hotel people think so

Developers want to replace these three storefronts with a 120-room Cambria hotel. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Developers want to replace these three storefronts with a 120-room Cambria hotel. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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A 120-room Cambria hotel wants to go here, on Market Street, Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
A 120-room Cambria hotel wants to go here, on Market Street, Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

By Kevin Coughlin

A 120-room hotel is coming to Morristown, opening on Market Street in July 2017.

That’s according to Choice International Hotels Inc., one of the world’s largest lodging companies, which has announced an agreement with City Sunstone Properties to build a Cambria hotel & suites property “one-half block away from [the] Morristown Green.”

cambria logo“There are numerous corporations based around Morristown, and we are confident their clients and partners will be pleased once they experience the Cambria brand,”  added City Sunstone Managing Partner Rod Atamian in a statement.

“The development of the Morristown Cambria is consistent with our efforts to own the most attractive commercial properties in a given region.”

But any celebrations are premature, according to town officials, who said on Monday that development plans –when and if they are submitted– must address concerns about parking and building heights.

‘VERY PRELIMINARY’

“This is very preliminary,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty.

Project representatives stopped by town hall briefly last week to express interest, he said, and that’s where it stands. No plans were filed.

Developers want to replace these three storefronts with a 120-room Cambria hotel. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Developers want to replace these three storefronts with a 120-room Cambria hotel. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“There’s a process, and everyone has to abide by that process,” Dougherty said, referring to public hearings.

If approved, the Morristown Cambria would become the town’s first new hotel in decades.

And it would continue a transformation of Market Street–once known as “Rum Alley”– that began last year with site preparation for a triangular law office touted as the “Gateway to Morristown,” at the intersection of Market and Bank streets.

A mix of apartments and retail shops also is anticipated for the block, partially designated as a redevelopment zone.

The hotel, which would not be part of that special zone, is earmarked for 19-21 and 23 Market St., and 18 Bank Street.

On Market Street, those addresses correspond with the Cappia Café, a hair salon and a computer repair shop.  An office building occupies the Bank Street address.

Morristown hedge-fund manager Daniel Khoshaba  owns the properties, through KSA Properties LLC.  Town records indicate he paid almost $2,251,000 to acquire them between 2010 and 2012.

Khoshaba, 56, worked his way up from a family tool-making business to Wall Street analyst jobs to leadership of KSA Capital Partners, which manages close to $300 million in assets.

“We are looking for companies to transform themselves—not a 2 percent dividend,” Khoshaba told Barron’s magazine.

‘GROWTH AND STRONG DEMOGRAPHICS’

Choice International includes the Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge chains. Cambria is a business travel and leisure brand that promises new construction, a large lobby and “over-sized rooms with flexible spaces.”

The Morristown Cambria will have a contemporary bistro, called Social Circle™, serving local specialties created by Chef Michael DeMaria. Look for liquor, wine, beer; fresh grab-and-go gourmet salads and sandwiches; and a barista bar.

Also promised: 2,500 square feet of meeting space, a spa, a large indoor swimming pool and a fitness center.

This building at 18 Bank Street could become a hotel. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
This building at 18 Bank Street could become a hotel. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“The Cambria hotels & suites brand had a strong year in 2015, with numerous openings, ground breakings and new property signings to key markets across the country, and we’re thrilled to continue that momentum by bringing the brand to business and leisure travelers visiting Morristown,” Michael Murphy, senior vice president for Upscale Brands at Choice Hotels International, said in a statement.

City Sunstone said Morristown fits its strategy of building “high use projects on extremely attractive development sites in regions with growth and strong demographics.”

The companies cited Honeywell, Nabisco and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals among large corporations in the vicinity.

“Leisure travelers also frequent the area to enjoy the many well-known theaters, festivals and high-end retail stores,” Choice International noted in its statement.Spokespersons for Choice International and City Sunstone did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

In 2007, under a prior administration, the town rezoned the Central Business District to allow a maximum height of six stories, up from four stories.

It remains to be seen whether the developers will attempt to exceed that limit, said Phil Abramson, the town’s planning consultant.

A Cambria suite. Image courtesy of Cambria website.
A Cambria suite. Image courtesy of Cambria website.

Parking also could receive much discussion, Abramson said, “because the site clearly is too small to accommodate this use and parking.”

The nearby Ann/ Bank Street garage is almost fully subscribed, he said, and a Morris County lot is closed for now.

“That area increasingly is in higher demand,” Abramson said.

The Morristown Cambria would face the 40 Park and Metropolitan luxury condos and apartments across Market Street. Next-door neighbors would include an antique firehouse and the 127-year-old Market Street Mission.

Competitors would include the Hyatt Morristown and the Best Western Plus Morristown Inn, and the Westin Governor Morris, on the border of Morristown and Morris Township.

 

 

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Guy good point about 202 issues, should have been addressed during the planning of the Metroplitan and 40 Park with an extra lane. A problem caused by inexperienced planners and politicians. Could have gone up one more story to make up for the extra lane. Same with the parking deck, now the same planners are complaining about lack of parking.

  2. Terrible; Tons more traffic double parking on one the busiest streets in town. Also known as 202 already chronically backed up, a hotel will take out at least one of the available lanes.

  3. Everyone’s complaining…time to move the mission or stop donating to them when they are sitting on million dollars in property.

  4. Great use for the business district, let’s see what the council does when the liquor license is issued to the hotel. Closing hour restrictions ? I doubt it. And by the way another bar restaurant is coming to market street. Restrictions? I doubt it.

  5. It’s about time, long overdo. Would love to see a new hotel there instead of those buildings. Would definitely improve the area. Let’s hope this happens!

  6. Sounds great but has anybody tried to go up Ann Street via Bank Street at rush hour lately? Or Market Street at the Green. Hope they have a good plan.

  7. Don’t forget there are 7 days in a week and a business that runs half empty 4 out of 7 days a week isn’t going to be very successful. $300 rates make up for the remainder of the week where rates are lower than limited service hotels in the surrounding areas. A new hotel brings tax revenues to the town but when the town provides little to no local revenue in support of the hotel, one may be just enough. What we will end up with is two hotels that are full Monday Thru Wednesday. I am sure the 40 Park and the Metropolitan residents will be thrilled to see a new trail of revelers finding their way to a hotel across the street at 3AM every weekend!

  8. I hope this happens!!! Morristown needs more hotels! Too many corporations and not enough rooms in the area to accomodate all the business travelers. Which is why every hotel is sold out Monday through Wednesday. In addition, there’s no reason why hotel rooms should be $300 and up in this area. This is not NYC. Hopefully this will help bring all the lost revenue to Morristown from all the potential guests that would stay here if they could just find a room in town.

  9. I think this could be a very exciting project for Market St, along with the apartments and retail planned. The whole street will be completely different and give The Metropolitan the streetscape it desired when it was built. Hopefully the parking issue is figured out and this can move forward.

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