Can­dle­wood Suites opens

Ad­ja­cent prop­erty eyed for new ho­tel, gas sta­tion

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­

With a new ex­tended-stay ho­tel on South Col­lege Av­enue open and serv­ing guests, a sec­ond ho­tel project lo­cated di­rectly next door is in the works.

Of­fi­cials at SSN Ho­tels, a Wilm­ing­ton-based firm that op­er­ates ap­prox­i­mately 20 ho­tels in the re­gion, held a re­cep­tion last week to cel­e­brate the six-story Can­dle­wood Suites, which opened in early March.

The Can­dle­wood Suites is the sixth ho­tel on South Col­lege Av­enue and the eighth in city lim­its. A ninth is un­der con­struc­tion at the cor­ner of Li­brary Av­enue and Ogle­town Road, and the Univer­sity of Delaware is seek­ing a part­ner to build a ho­tel on its STAR Cam­pus.

All 101 of the Can­dle­wood’s rooms are suites that in­clude kitchens, and the ho­tel is geared to­ward vis­i­tors stay­ing for three days or more. SSN CEO Peter Bhai said he ex­pects it to do well, con­sid­er­ing its prox­im­ity to UD and ma­jor com­pa­nies like W.L. Gore and As­so­ciates and JPMor­gan, which of­ten bring in em­ploy­ees or con­sul­tants from other lo­ca­tions.

“They all come in for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time,” Bhai said.

Now, Bhai and his man­age­ment team will turn their at­ten­tion to a project that calls for de­mol­ish­ing the ad­ja­cent Red Roof Inn and re­plac­ing it with a new ho­tel and a con­ve­nience store with gas pumps.

The plan, for­mally filed with the city late last year, pro­poses a four-story, 98-room Tru by Hil­ton ho­tel at the back of the prop­erty and a 5,060-square­foot store with 12 gas pumps fronting South Col­lege Av­enue.

The pro­posed ho­tel is smaller than SSN’s ag­ing three­story, 142-room Red Roof Inn, which for many years was a Howard John­son’s.

The Can­dle­wood Suites and Red Roof Inn sit on a 4.65-acre site at the south­east cor­ner of South Col­lege Av­enue and Welsh Tract Road. The ad­ja­cent parcels that are home to Friendly’s restau­rant and the re­cently opened Jersey Mike’s Subs are not owned by SSN and will not be af­fected.

Bhai said he sees the ho­tel prop­erty as a “gate­way” to Ne­wark and its lo­ca­tion next to the In­ter­state 95 ramp po­si­tions it well to cater to trav­el­ers.

“The city of Ne­wark is the per­fect mid­point be­tween D.C. and New York,” Bhai said.

Tru is a new brand meant to cater to mil­len­ni­als, and has a “very mod­ern, con­tem­po­rary look,” he said.

Ho­tels un­der the Tru brand, an­nounced in early 2016, will in­clude a large lobby where guests can work, eat or lounge to­gether, a game room and other mod­ern touches, like mo­bile check-in and dig­i­tal room keys.

Mean­while, Bhai sees the con­ve­nience store as a way to bring more peo­ple to the site.

“Of course, it will draw a lot of traf­fic, which is what we want,” he said. “We want to re­vive the gate­way of get­ting into the city.”

“A Wawa and two new ho­tels will be a good draw for the city,” added Pinky Bhai, pres­i­dent of SSN.

How­ever, no deal with Wawa or any other com­pany has been fi­nal­ized, they added.

SSN is cur­rently work­ing with the Delaware De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion on a traf­fic im­pact study and a plan to im­prove the en­trance to the prop­erty. Af­ter that, the project will have to go through the city of Ne­wark’s de­vel­op­ment ap­proval process.

Tom Fruehstor­fer, a plan­ner with the city of Ne­wark, said SSN has in­di­cated to the city that it plans to seek vari­ances from the board of ad­just­ment for the num­ber of re­quired load­ing zones and the re­quired dis­tance be­tween an ac­cess drive­way and a res­i­den­tial dis­trict. How­ever, the de­vel­oper has not yet sched­uled a pre­sen­ta­tion to the board.

The prop­erty is cor­rectly zoned for the project, but SSN will need city coun­cil’s ap­proval for a ma­jor sub­di­vi­sion and spe­cial-use per­mit for the gas pumps.

Peter Bhai said he’s con­fi­dent that, once the DelDOT process is com­plete, the project will move for­ward.

“The city is very pro-de­vel­op­ment,” he noted.


The Can­dle­wood Suites ho­tel on South Col­lege Av­enue opened in early March. SSN Ho­tels, which owns the Can­dle­wood, is now fo­cus­ing on a re­de­vel­op­ment plan for the ad­ja­cent Red Roof Inn.


This map shows the pro­posed lo­ca­tions of a new ho­tel and con­ve­nience store with gas pumps on South Col­lege Av­enue.

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