Construction of a proposed 73-room Best Western hotel on Market Street in Hartford has been delayed by almost a year, but the property’s developer has vowed to complete the project based on a slightly larger design.
The wheels for the project were put in motion two years ago when Ankit Patel, who also owns several Subway restaurants in Massachusetts, bought 370-380 Market St. in September 2006. Patel, under his company CAV LLC, purchased the 0.9 acres of land for $1.15 million.
In April of last year, Patel initially went to the city with his plans for a Best Western at his newly purchased property near the intersection of Interstates 91 and 84.
Last November, the city formerly approved the project.
Water Table Problem
However, as engineers were preparing the way for construction, they found that the water table was too high to accommodate the original design. That meant that Patel had to begin the process of obtaining the correct building permits all over again.
“We had to change our drawings, and we have submitted them to the city,” Patel said. “We’re moving forward and we’ll start applying for our building permits.”
If all goes according to plan, Patel is hopeful that the proper permits will be in place by February.
That would mean construction could commence in the spring. He is hesitant to predict when the hotel could finally open its doors.
“I have stopped predicting,” Patel said. “It was supposed to be open already. It has been delayed by things out of our control.”
In changing the design of the hotel, Patel increased the number of rooms from 73 to 81, and he eliminated plans for a basement, where meeting rooms were initially planned.
In April 2007, Patel said the project would cost between $7 and $10 million. Those estimates still apply to the new plan, he said.
Patel said that although the delays have been frustrating, he has never wavered on following through.
“No, no, it was just something that happens sometimes,” he said. “We will be getting our permits soon and then it should be ready to move forward next year.”
City officials hailed the project last year when it was first proposed because it required no state or local funding assistance.
Patel was buying the property and financing the project himself.
Mark McGovern, acting director of development services for the city of Hartford, said the proposed hotel would be a welcome addition downtown.
“Absolutely, hotel development for the downtown area and the central business district is a high priority,” he said.
“It helps with our ability to attract more meetings and conventions,” McGovern added.
Since the opening of the Connecticut Convention Center in 2005, city officials have been pushing for more hotel rooms in Hartford in an effort to keep visitors from spending most of their time — and their money — in the suburbs.
A Best Western hotel, McGovern added, has the bonus attraction of being a hotel with room rates geared to the middle-market.
Several other downtown hotels are high-end.
“We’re always looking for new developments downtown and willing to work with developers,” McGovern said.
“This one had been approved previously, now it’s working its way through the process again. It’s progress,” he said.