‘Chic boutique’ hotel will bring ‘walking wallets’ to Morristown, developers tell board

Drawing of proposed Cambria hotel, Market Street side. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Drawing of proposed Cambria hotel, Market Street side. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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.

Frank Vitolo, attorney for Sunstone Hotels LLC, addresses Morristown Planning Board. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Frank Vitolo, attorney for Sunstone Hotels LLC, addresses Morristown Planning Board. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“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.

Drawing of proposed Cambria hotel, Market Street side.
Drawing of proposed Cambria hotel, Market Street side.

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.

Architect Scott Rosenberg describes his Cambria hotel design. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Architect Scott Rosenberg describes his Cambria hotel design. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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.

Proposed seven-story Cambria hotel, as viewed from Bank Street.
Proposed seven-story Cambria hotel, as viewed from Bank Street.


Engineer Brad Bohler, left, and hedge fund manager Dan Khoshaba, owner of proposed Cambria hotel site. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Engineer Brad Bohler, left, and hedge fund manager Dan Khoshaba, owner of proposed Cambria hotel site. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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:

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  1. Jimmy C, Who and why is someone harassing your business ? I have been in town for 4 years and have been to your establishments many times – well run and law and order. Why would someone from the town try to disrupt this ?

  2. Fire Marshall back again Saturday night by order of our new administrator. He limited our occupancy in direct contradiction of our legal posted occupancy. Is this what Morristown has become ? Corrupt.

  3. It sounds like an interesting development.
    A few points, Marge Brady is very knowledgeable, it is rude to dismiss her, or to make a fun of the Town’s valuable history, and past. That is just ignorant.
    In the past there have been developers who just make a few bucks and leave ,so its good she is watch dogging.
    I also served on the Planning Board of the Town of Morristown ,and at that time the thinking was to restrict towering buildings on, or too close, to the Green, that would block the sunlight. The idea seemed logical at the time. Has the thinking changed? Times change.
    The Town should lay off Mr Cavanaugh , for he has been a long time promoter of Morristown and making business a success there. Seems like it has gotten personal with him and some elected officials. Very sad.
    Stay tuned.

  4. Morristown is still evolving, hopefully the Speedwell Ave section will catch up and the garage will be put to good use. The politicians need to realize that with the advent of on line shopping downtown will become a much different place. It’s difficult for retailers to survive so my advice to the Mayor and Council is make Morristown business friendly or the next downturn may crush those that have invested heavily in Morristown. Unfortunately there isn’t a single leader who knows what it takes to make a business successful.

  5. As a planning advocate, with 25 years of experience in providing for the parking needs of Morristown, I have witnessed first hand the devastation caused by the overly dense and inappropriate redevelopment efforts of prior administrations. Proper redevelopment saved Morristown, but that was often due to the efforts of the Parking Authority without the support of the administration. The fact is that former Mayor Cresitello, supported by Jim Cavanaugh, was against the building of the Metro apartments and said the DeHart Street garage was too large. As a commissioner of the Parking Authority, who had been mentored by Vincent Cresitello, his father, did not agree. The taxes generated by that project helped to stabilize our budget after many years.
    Proper planning and development establishes limits according to the amount of development that can be reasonably sustained. Just building giant garages without proper planning does not work. Witness the failure of the HQ Plaza garage, unable to support itself, to large for the project it was to serve and having a negative impact on the neighborhood it faced.

  6. @Jim it frustrates me how much they harass your businesses while your businesses are some of the most popular places in town. I should consider running for council…

  7. The council is about to approve a massive parking deck behind the post office. We certainly need the parking especially for the community theatre and businesses. Personally speaking the council president continues to harass my new business Revolution, more law suits wasting taxpayers money. Why would he consider a new parking deck bringing more people to town and at the same time harass my business which is not adding one more occupant. As an aside the fire Marshall is sent into iron bar and revolution every Friday and Saturday night, yet we are never over capacity.

  8. I support development but it needs to be done right. Parking and traffic are becoming serious problems in morristown. Market St is no exception. It backs way up onto Mt. Kemble at rush hour and parking there is a consistent nightmare. These issues need to be addressrd unless you want morristown to become some urban traffic nightmare like Bergen and Hudson county. All kinds of people would love to place a project on Market St. So either get the development to meet the needs of our town or wait till they present a project we can live with. This isn’t 1999, Morristown isn’t desperate for development. We will have to live with this for 50+yrs. Let’s do it right!

  9. The only issue with all of this development on the town is parking. Other than that, it benefits Morristown and its people in every single way! This hotel creates jobs, knocks down eyesores and brings in visitors and new shops and restaurants. Complete win-win if parking is figured out appropriately

  10. Jeff and John- YES.. Margret, you always have something negative to say about development. I live in Modera 44. I am a part of the people in this town that want to see it as an urban/regional hub. That is why I moved here. If you don’t like progress, move to western parts of the state

  11. Margret brady, protect the people from what, progress? It’s time to move beyond that dusty old “colonial” nonsense. Thankfully that’s happening. Morristown is a regional, urban center. It’s not the place it was 20 years ago. Projects like this are necessary to downtown’s growth and vitality. I hope we see more of them!

  12. Marr S seems to love every project that exceeds the limits created to protect the town and its residents. Wonder where he lives?

  13. As a business owner in town and a resident, I fully support the Cambria hotel project. Market St. is an eyesore. It is also the first impression visitors see when traveling to Morristown from Somerset. The guests would add to the thriving downtown area. Who knows, perhaps the addition of another hotel can bring back some retail stores. I only hope the planning board and especially the town council start representing the whole town and not just a couple of residents of 40 Park.