Video: Attorney and engineer pitch hotel for Morristown
By Kevin Coughlin
A 117-room Cambria hotel proposed for Market and Bank streets will look like an “urban, hip, chic loft” that will draw business travelers to downtown Morristown, developers told the planning board on Thursday.
“Morristown is in a renaissance. People want to work here, people want to live here, people want to do business here. The new hotel will bring walking wallets to Morristown,” said Frank Vitolo, attorney for Sunstone Hotels LLC.
The hotel is part of a redevelopment push that aims to transform a onetime “Rum Alley” into a “Gateway to Morristown.”
A triangular law office is under construction at the intersection of Market and Bank streets, and a complex of 55 apartments with storefronts and a restaurant is wending through the approvals process.
If approved, Cambria would be Morristown’s first new hotel in more than 35 years, Vitolo said. An engineer and an architect testified at Thursday’s hearing, the first since hotel plans were submitted in the spring.
Developers seek variances to exceed six stories (the Bank Street side would rise seven stories), to exceed 80 percent lot coverage (their proposed 86,000-square-foot building would cover the entire lot), and to reduce parking requirements.
The town requires 214 off-site parking spaces. The builder is asking to provide only 65 spaces, at the Dalton garage on Cattano Avenue. Valet service would shuttle guests’ cars between the hotel rear entrance on Bank Street and the garage.
Architect Scott Rosenberg said the town’s master plan inspired his brick-and-stone exterior design, meant to create “an industrial loft feel” that is “urban, hip chic…lasting and timeless.”
Rooms would be “spacious, light and airy.” Mounted photos and paintings by local artists would aim “to get people in the hotel to want to go out and explore the town,” Rosenberg said. Vitolo is a trustee of Morris Arts, the Morristown-based nonprofit serving Morris County.
The hotel would have a 38-seat restaurant, a pub that closes at 11 pm, and a sandwich shop for guests, Rosenberg said. Water-conserving toilets, LED lights and other green features are planned, he added.
Curbs and sidewalks would be replaced, while four street parking spaces — three on Bank, and one on Market–would be eliminated to accommodate a loading area, valet parking services, and cab/ Uber dropoffs, engineer Brad Bohler told the board.
The hotel site formerly held the Cappia café, a nail salon and barbershop, and a computer repair business. All of those leases have expired, according to Morristown-based hedge fund manager Daniel Khoshaba, who owns the properties.
Residents and board members requested a detailed traffic survey, and three-dimensional drawings that accurately depict traffic congestion.
Stefan Armington, town council liaison to the board, expressed concerns that the hotel’s height would produce a shadowy “canyon effect” on Bank Street.
Thursday’s presentation barely scratched the surface, said board Chairman Joe Stanley.
“So many questions remain in terms of the operation of the hotel,” Stanley said, citing topics such as deliveries, trash pickups and parking.
Experts in operations, planning and traffic will testify at the next hearing, said Vitolo, the attorney from Riker Danzig in Morristown.
“We’re not going to dance around parking,” he said, vowing to tackle the issue head-on.
Video: Cambria architect presentation 1 of 2
Video: Cambria architect presentation 2 of 2: