|By Robert Brauchle, Watertown Daily
Times, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Apr. 11, 2010--The seven-acre plot of wooded land at Gaffney and Commerce Park drives could become a busy construction site by the beginning of fall.
Hemisphere Management says it is ready to begin construction on two Marriott-brand hotels and a restaurant on the site, but only when it knows the city is working to upgrade its underground infrastructure.
"We're all set from our side," said Tarpan Patel, vice president of the Rochester company. "We're waiting for the city to make sure the infrastructure is in place or at least they're working on it before we invest a significant amount of money in the project."
Hemisphere Management has been approved to build a four-story, 118-room Towne Plaza Suites Hotel, an adjacent three-story, 106-room Fairfield Inn and a restaurant on the site it purchased in September from Jefferson Hostel, a holding company of the nonprofit Jefferson Rehabilitation Corp.
The Towne Plaza Suites brand offers high-speed Internet, full-size kitchens, fitness centers, an indoor pool and lower rates for extended stays.
The Fairfield Inn brand offers free breakfast, high-speed Internet in the rooms and lobby and a rewards package for free nights and flights.
Last month, the city outlined a work plan that is expected to sustain the Hemisphere Management proposal, along with any future development in the area.
The project includes three phases:
--Phase I: Upgrade the sewage main along Gaffney Drive near Coffeen Street for $400,000.
--Phase II: Acquire a private sewer main that runs east-west from the boundary of land owned by developer Patrick M. Donegan to Gaffney Drive for $90,000.
--Phase III: Upgrade a sewage pump station along Gaffney Drive acquired by the city in 2008, for $225,000.
The three projects are expected to cost $715,000. The local cost could be knocked down to about $500,000 if the city is awarded a pair of grants for which it has applied.
There is no timeline for the city's project, although City Manager Mary M. Corriveau has said Phase I likely will begin this summer.
"I think they're doing a good job getting all of their ducks lined up. As long as we have a commitment from them, then we have no problem forging ahead," Mr. Patel said. "We're confident everything will get worked out."
Hemisphere Management also manages the Candlewood Suites on Route 11 in the town of LeRay.
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