|By Sarah Shemkus, Cape Cod Times,
Hyannis, Mass.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 19, 2011--HYANNIS -- The plans are only preliminary right now, but the prospect of a new, year-round hotel in downtown Hyannis is already generating excitement.
"We've long had this goal of having a year-round hotel down by the harbor," said JoAnne Miller Buntich, Barnstable's director of growth management.
At a planning board meeting this week, the Newport Hotel Group -- owners of the Hyannis Harbor Hotel and Falmouth's Inn on the Square as well as five other properties throughout New England -- proposed a 105-room, four-story hotel to be built at the corner of Ocean and Nantucket streets. The property is now occupied in part by the Hyannis Anglers Club building.
The informal discussion was a prelude to a formal application, which the hotel group said they expect to file in time for discussion at the March 14 planning board meeting, Buntich said.
Newport Hotel Group president Douglas Cohen did not return calls for comment Friday.
The property the hotel group intends to develop is part of the downtown Hyannis growth incentive zone. Projects in this zone can bypass review by the Cape Cod Commission, instead coming to an agreement directly with the town, Buntich explained.
But the details of a such a deal must still be worked out, planning board chairman Raymond Lang said.
"The thing we need to work out now is what kind of regulatory agreement the board is going to put together and present to the town council," he said. "It's too early to really tell if there's pluses and minuses."
Once the planning board works out the details of a regulatory agreement, the proposal will be forwarded to the town council for approval, Lang said.
The last new hotel proposed in Barnstable was Stuart Bornstein's plan to build a Hilton Garden Inn on Route 28, across from the airport in Hyannis. Facing a lack of support from the town council, Bornstein withdrew his application in September 2009.
At the time, opponents of Bornstein's plan said that a new hotel would be welcome in Hyannis, but they questioned the proposed location near the airport. Something downtown, many said, would be more appropriate.
The Newport Hotel Group's proposed project is not yet attached to a specific hotel brand name, Buntich said. But the local business community and the Barnstable Patriot have reported that the property will be a Residence Inn by Marriott.
If the new hotel is, indeed, part of a chain, that could help attract more tourists to downtown Hyannis, said Jessica Tinti, interim president and CEO of the Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce.
"It's a great thing, having another chain hotel in the town of Barnstable," she said. "There are people that look for that name -- the chain hotels have a following."
For Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District, the proposal signals a positive attitude about the future of Hyannis.
"It's more development and it's faith in downtown Hyannis," she said. "It's progress."
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Copyright (c) 2011, Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.
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