|By Elaine Rose, The Press of Atlantic
City, Pleasantville, N.J.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 18, 2011--EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP -- As the NextGen air-traffic control project heats up, out-of-town contractors and others coming to do business at the William J. Hughes Technical Center will need a place to stay.
A new Hilton Homewood Suites hotel being built on English Creek Avenue just off the Black Horse Pike hopes to accommodate them in style, the developer said.
The four-story, 120-suite hotel will provide visitors with meeting rooms, an indoor pool, an exercise room, free Internet access and a deluxe continental breakfast, said Steve Scharf, vice president of development for the Livingston-based Briad Group. Opening is tentatively scheduled for early next year.
Once completed, the hotel will provide full-time employment for about 30 people, Scharf said.
The developer "just opened one, and they must feel there's a need, because they're now building another one," Mayor James "Sonny" McCullough said.
The construction activity is in a fenced-in area, not visible from the highway. The hotel is clearly taking shape.
The Briad Group won Planning Board approval for the project in June 2008, about the same time it opened its Marriott Residence Inn off of Fire Road. The company obtains franchises from the parent hotel corporations, and then builds, owns and operates the establishments, Scharf said.
Homewood Suites caters mostly to business travelers, but this one might attract some families visiting the beach in the summer, "because there aren't a lot of suite-type hotels in the Ocean City and Atlantic City area," said Egg Harbor Township administrator Peter Miller.
Air travelers from central New Jersey who use Atlantic City International Airport might also stay at the hotel before they catch an early-morning flight, Miller said. The new hotel will have a park-and-fly program, allowing them to leave their cars on the property while they are away.
Scharf said it was too early to determine whether the hotel will offer transportation to Atlantic City's casinos, as do some hotels on the Black Horse Pike in the township.
"Obviously, the airport's going to be a big driver for us, so we'll have to provide transportation to and from the airport," he said.
Egg Harbor Township taxpayers should also benefit from the new hotel. During the Planning Board hearing, Scharf said it would mean a $15 million to $20 million ratable for the township.
That will help the township's bottom line, as the hotel will add to the tax base but require few public services, McCullough said.
"We can use all the ratables we can that don't provide school children," he said.
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