A seven-story hotel and apartment building are being built in the center of Newark’s High Street.
Newark City Council approved a revised version of the Lang Development Group’s Green Mansion hotel project Monday evening, which was first examined by city council two years ago.
The new project includes a smaller hotel with fewer amenities and eliminates the original plan for office space. Developer Jeff Lang said the changes were made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the office market and travel landscapes.
“This will generate tremendous revenue for the city, but more importantly, it will generate a tremendous shot in the arm for our downtown community,” said Chris Locke, senior vice president and general counsel, Lang Development.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The Newark-based developer is redesigning the hotel project with a separate apartment building and underground car park
The project plans to build a 104-room Hyatt hotel with underground parking at 94 E. Main St. across from Academy Street. A separate six-story building of two-bedroom apartments (48 units) will be constructed behind the hotel over the ground floor parking lot.
The hotel is located in the three-story Green Mansion, a building that is more than a hundred years old and is on the National Historic Register due to its special architecture. The Green Mansion will have a meeting room on the first floor and suites on the upper floors. A street level terrace is in front of the hotel next to the Green Mansion.
The previous proposal was more extensive, calling for a 144-room hotel with multiple amenities, including a pool deck on the fourth floor. It also had 20,000 square feet of office space and an above-ground, ivy-covered parking garage.
After Lang had cleared the project site in autumn 2019, he stopped construction last May.
“We love the original design, we love the original design, but the office market has fallen apart quite a bit and obviously we have a hotel that many of us know not many people travel now,” Lang said in February.
The project required no parking as its 171 parking spaces were 39 fewer than the parking spaces required by the city code.
The city council approved the waiver with 5: 1. In return, Lang agreed to make the underground car park accessible to the public and to provide access between the urban parking spaces that were halved by the project. The company also pays the city $ 181,263.
A month ago the city council rejected developer George Danneman’s request for a 67-digit parking waiver for a five-story, mixed-use building just down the street at 132 E. Main St.
Since Danneman did not offer parking, he argued that students living in the building’s 28 apartments would be discouraged from bringing cars into the city’s central business district. If renters brought a car to school, they would have to find long-term parking on the edge of campus, he said.
Opponents of the waiver said the idea that students would not bring cars was a fallacy and the project would exacerbate the city’s “downtown parking problem”.
PREVIOUS REPORTING: Newark 5-story home declined due to parking problems on Main Street
The Green Mansion project includes enough parking spaces for the hotel part of the project, but only offers one parking space per apartment. Using a similar logic to Danneman, Lang argued that reduced parking is positive as it keeps cars out of the city’s downtown area.
“We have a suburban parking code for an urban environment,” said Lang. “If we look at each project as a separate project and not as a collection of overall projects, your entire downtown area would be parked.”
Lang Development also pointed to the potential of a Main Street hotel to direct traffic to neighboring businesses, many of which saw sales decline due to the pandemic and after a 14-month road construction project.
Some councilors shared concerns about the Lang project, which exacerbated a parking problem, but most were ultimately amenable to waiver and the project.
“There is no subtraction from downtown parking when entering student apartments,” said Councilor Jason Lawhorn.
They were satisfied with the scope of the new proposal compared to the previous project, which Lang Development could have built if the parking waiver had been refused. The members of the council were also pleased with the access road to the municipal car parks next to the hotel, which was not included in the original project.
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Contact Brandon Holveck at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @holveck_brandon.