The developer of Storrs Center near the University of Connecticut won’t appeal a decision by town of Mansfield rejecting the addition of a hotel to the project.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the decision,” Howard Kaufman, managing member of developer LeylandAlliance, told me today. “We proposed the hotel because we felt it would be a great addition to Storrs Center and the new downtown mixed-use neighborhood we are creating.”
He added: “In any event, we will not appeal. It is time for us to move on — we know we can develop a new plan that will be a positive addition to the new downtown.”
LeylandAlliance had asked the town to change the zoning for Storrs Center to allow a hotel, not previously permitted. The planning and zoning commission earlier this week voted 6-3 against the request.
Two nearby hotels operators — the Nathan Hale Inn & Conference Center and the Best Western — opposed the zoning change. They argued that it would further slicea hotel market that is already thin and one can fluctuate significantly depending on the season.
Jo Ann Goodwin, the planning commission’s chairman, told me today that the commission did not consider whether a third hotel was needed in the area. The main concerns raised by the commission, she said, were the loss of 100 apartments originally planned for the site of the hotel, traffic and parking.
“The intention of the downtown was to be pedestrian friendly, foster local business, be a place for people to gather, and a hotel seemed inconsistent with all those things,” Goodwin said.
Tuxedo Park, N.Y.-based LeylandAlliance had proposed a 100-room, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. The hotel was expected to cost about $5 million to build.
LeylandAlliance had argued that another hotel would be needed in the future. The developer said the university was growing, especially with the planned addition of a research park.
Kaufman said LeylandAlliance would consider restoring the apartments where the hotel was planned.
The $220 million Storrs Center, on the southern edge of UConn’s main campus across from E.O. Smith High School and Mansfield town hall, has already added 322 apartments and nearly 75,000 square feet of retail space, with plans for more.