First look: Plans for seven-story Cambria hotel in Morristown

An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the southeast corner of Bank Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the southeast corner of Bank Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the northeast corner of Bank Street.
An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the northeast corner of Bank Street.  The project’s seven-story height requires a zoning variance. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

By Kevin Coughlin

Developers of a Cambria hotel are asking Morristown’s planning board for variances from town height- and parking restrictions.

Sunstone Hotels LLC wants to build a seven-story hotel in a six-story zone at Market and Bank streets, near a redevelopment area that seeks to transform a former “Rum Alley” into a “Gateway to Morristown.”

Because of sloping topography, the hotel would stand six stories above Market Street, but seven stories on the Bank Street side, according to plans submitted this week to the town.

Based on the hotel’s proposed size — 92,540 square feet with “117 modern, stylish guest rooms”– the town requires 214 off-site parking spaces. The builder is asking to provide only 65 spaces.

Negotiations are ongoing with the Morristown Parking Authority to secure those spaces at the Dalton garage on Cattano Avenue, according to the documents.

The requested parking reduction is based on Sunstone’s calculations of an average 80 percent occupancy (92 rooms) and a maximum daily need for 34 parking spaces.

An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the northwest corner of Market Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the northwest corner of Market Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Valet parking, with pickup and drop-off on the Bank Street side, would be provided by Advanced Parking Concepts, the same Verona company managing an overflow parking lot for the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

Additional variances are required for lot coverage and setbacks. The site is zoned for a maximum coverage of 80 percent; Sunstone seeks 100 percent lot coverage.  And buildings are required to stand back 10 feet from their front boundaries. The hotel seeks permission to extend to its property line on the sidewalk, as many downtown establishments do.

Only one off-street loading area is proposed, instead of the mandatory five, and at a smaller size than the zoning dictates.

An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the southeast corner of Bank Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the southeast corner of Bank Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

These preliminary plans must be reviewed by the town’s planning and engineering consultants. Depending on the outcome of those reviews, the application could be heard by the planning board on May 26, 2016, said town Zoning Officer James Campbell.

Town Planner Phil Abramson said he has not had a chance to look over the plans yet.

Cambria hotels are owned by Choice International Hotels Inc., one of the world’s largest lodging companies, which also owns the Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge chains.

An indoor swimming pool, gym, bistro, barista bar and 2,500-square feet of meeting space are envisioned for the Morristown Cambria, which will cater to leisure travelers and visitors to the area’s pharma companies, according to statements from Sunstone and Choice International.

The hotel is proposed for 19-21 and 23 Market St., and 18 Bank St., properties owned by Morristown-based hedge fund manager Daniel Khoshaba, through KSA Properties LLC. 

On Market Street, those addresses have been home to the Cappia Café, a hair salon and a computer repair shop. An office building occupies the Bank Street address.

A few doors down, a triangular law office is being erected for the law firm Fox Rothschild at the intersection of Market and Bank streets, on parcels that have been designated as a redevelopment zone.

An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the southwest corner of Market Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
An architectural rendering of proposed Cambria hotel, as viewed from the southwest corner of Market Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

 

 

 

 

 

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18 COMMENTS

  1. A hotel is a great idea but make the build a parking garage or deck on the building. Cattano st garage is PACKED by 9am they can’t park there!!!!

  2. You are wrong, M. Brady. I was in Morristown last October. We wanted to book 2 nights at the Hyatt but could only get one at first. Thankfully we were able to jump on a cancellation.

    This new hotel is a needed and wonderful concept.

  3. I walk past there almost every day and hope to see that happen soon. That area is unsafe at night and on a few occasions seen shady people lingering around and in the door openings. The hotel will make the area safer and the hotel looks beautiful – WOW what an improvement!

  4. @Matt S.

    Are you referring to the Scotto’s? If so, that’s a damn shame to hear. I think that the Midtown Shopping Plaza is one of the largest blights on this town. If I recall, the newest Master Plan calls for that area to be redeveloped. If so, and the Scotto’s choose not to partake in that redevelopment I hope that the town uses it’s right to eminent domain to take the property. The Scotto’s already slumlord over the Flagler street apartments, which I’ve only heard horror stories about.

    @The Dude, you make fantastic points and I completely agree with almost everything you’ve said.

  5. Margret Brady is out of touch. Downtown has ONE hotel right now. I know many people who were unable to stay there because it was booked.

    People want to be downtown.

    This new hotel is a terrific idea. It is needed and will add to vitality downtown.

  6. We have three good hotels here now. I have yet to hear of a lack of available rooms, especially on weekends. There is the one on Speedwell, another on South Street, just past the Madison Ave.nest to the 287 bridge and a large hotel and conference center, next door to Acorn Hall. Then we have several nearby in Convent Station and near the Morristown airport. Its obvious that the Dude hasn’t been here for a while and experienced the changes downtown. Many of those changes have had a positive impact but others are pushing the limits of keeping Morristown a livable community.

  7. @the dude

    I know the owners of Midtown. Unfortunately, I think that is staying the way it is. But Spring St redevelopment would be really nice and much needed!

  8. It’s kinda funny. I lived in Morristown is the ’80s but moved out here to (central) Denver back in the early 90s. There wasn’t much happening in Morristown back then. And this city was kind of drab back then, also. Downtown Denver really didn’t have much going on. Now, there is development everywhere (too much), downtown is packed with nightclubs, bars, condos, etc. People complain about it, but it is now a destination. I live a mile and half from downtown.

    I see some parallels between the two cities – on a different scale of course. Morristown’s development, restaurants, arts, the development on Market Street and elsewhere is a step in the right direction. More hotel space means an even livelier downtown, which will bring more businesses and more fun stuff to do.

    Let’s hope they continue. I’d love to see Spring Street redeveloped and the Midtown Shopping Center torn down and replaced with something more modern and attractive. But that’s just me…

    I would much rather live in Morristown now, rather than when I did, higher live costs notwithstanding. But NJ ain’t cheap!

  9. Sounds like more jobs and more tax revenue. We still need more housing that working people can afford.

  10. Motown res, I don’t think the Market Street Mission is considered a hotel by most.
    Terri Brennan, downtown surprisingly only has one hotel. It fills up frequently.
    Lauret, the proposed height is 7 stories.

    Density, particularly downtown, is a good thing. Morristown is an urban regional center, like it or not. And it continues to improve. This bothers the folks who are stuck in the dusty colonial mode, but things are changing for the better.

  11. The Mission is still there.

    And NYC would never build a six-story hotel?… This is exactly what Morristown needs!

  12. @ILoveMotown – it’s not too big, too tall, or too dense. It’s what is needed in an urban area. Like it or not, Morristown is becoming an urban and economic center in a primarily car dominated suburban landscape. This is a very good thing! And I’m not sure where in NYC you’re going, but I wouldn’t consider a 6 story building “NYC”.

    I don’t know who you think this will effect negatively, as it cannot possibly be the businesses in Morristown. We love these new projects and full-heartedly support them.

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