Partners in the Residence Inn hotel development on Maple Street are pushing forward quickly to clean up a vacant property and develop a second hotel on the property, which abuts Route 1 and is directly across from Chelsea High School.
Christine Thomas – a partner in the Residence Inn – said they have always been committed to a second hotel in Chelsea and are now ready to start development of a Holiday Inn Express that will stretch the length of Beech Street from Carter to Maple Streets.
Right now, she said, they are working to clean up the property – which has significant contamination issues.
“We’re getting that remediation under way shortly and we’ll work to move forward shortly after with the development of a hotel that’s a mirror image of the Residence Inn,” she said. “The idea is not to mirror it exactly, but that it’s a similarly complimentary structure. We have been more successful with developing multiple hotels in close proximity. Two hotels do better for us than one. It’s not as if this hotel has been completely full immediately and we want to build another one. You have to build up the significance of the area. We’ve been very successful in doing that…We have a track record of doing that.”
Thomas said she and her partners have developed similar business models in Portsmouth, NH, Foxboro and Manchester, NH.
City Manager Jay Ash said he has high hopes for the second hotel property, but his excitement is tempered due to the contamination.
“We’re all excited about the potential, but it’s not there just yet,” he said. “There are still some approvals they need and some legal issues to solve. That site is also heavily contaminated and that will be a major hurdle for them to clear. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Thomas, however, is much more upbeat about the prospects of developing the property and cleaning it up.
“We have been committed to working with the City to clean up that land, which is contaminated,” she said. “It’s really important to do that because it is so connected to the area next to Chelsea High School and the corridor that school students travel to get to their homes and public transportation. It’s important that piece of land be cleaned up.”
She also said they have committed to building up the sidewalks and lighting on the entire corridor to enhance their property, but mostly to accommodate students walking from CHS.