Newark hotel-parking proposal deserves serious consideration

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Good afternoon,

A second proposed hotel project on Main Street in Newark produced the familiar complaints about the city losing its college town atmosphere.

The first seven-story, hotel-office project from Lang Development recentlygained the approval of the City Council despite intense opposition. Lang’s project fits in with the city’s comprehensive plan and a blanket “no” risked a costly lawsuit the city would have lost.

The latest mixed-use project comes from the Danneman family and calls for offices, a hotel and a parking structure. The family has been a long-time property owner in downtown.

In an Email message, developer George Danneman said “we are looking at two commercial retail spaces (down from three), 15 apartments above the retail, 287 car garage behind the retail/apartments, 108 room hotel above the garage. One floor of retail with three floors of apartments above it. The garage is five stories with five stories of the hotel above it.”

Danneman noted that the project was originally submitted to the city in the fall of last year. Revisions were made based on conversations with the city while also taking into consideration the Lang project. However, the latest version of the project has not been formally submitted to the city.

The eye-popping feature isthe 10-story structure that would include the parking complex and mixed-use development. Dannemann says the complex would be situated behind Main Street, with existing buildings, for the most part, blocking the impact of the high-rise.

One attractive feature with the revision comesinits attempt to address the growing parking problems on Main Street.

The Danemandevelopment has well in excess of the number of parking spaces that would be needed by the hotel and retail space.

It would require some sort of deal with the city, which is caught between a rock and a hard place after years of inaction.

A lease is expiring on a city lot that would be part of the Lang footprint. While Lang says some parking would be available from its project, the result will be a net loss in an area that badly needs parking.

Another question will be the need for additional hotel rooms. Despite widespreadskepticism, the Danneman family’s newly opened hotel on Ogletown Road, near Main Street, appears to be faring well in the early going.

Their latest project comes with a degree of complexity or as some might say “a lot of moving parts.”

Still, the mixed-use project offers a path forward for the city’s parking woes anddeserves a fair hearing.

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