By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — City Council gave preliminary approval last night to a local development team’s plan to bring an upscale hotel to land near Northern Essex Community College in the eastern part of the city.
The worldwide Lexington by Vantage company plans to open the 60-unit hotel next fall on Amesbury Road (Route 110) off Interstate 495’s exit 52. The 3.6 acre site is just east of the highway interchange on Route 110, behind a Mobil gas station and Dunkin Donuts.
Michael Migliori, a local attorney for the project, said the plan is to begin construction on the $4.5 million hotel this summer. Local developers King Weinstein and Stephen Stapinski are the developers.
Migliori said 60 rooms are planned at first, but that another 60 rooms and a restaurant might be added in the future. The three-story building will include 12 full-time workers and many more part-time positions, he said. The project is expected to generate about $800,000 in fees in property tax for the city over the next decade, Migliori said.
City officials said a key part of the project for them is that the developers will pay for Haverhill to bring the city sewer line about a half-mile up Route 110 to the hotel and areas near it. Sewer service is something residents and businesses in that part of the city have wanted for a long time.
“Current businesses in that part of the city have had sewer problems and this will help them,” said Stapinski, who is the project engineer.
No one spoke against the proposal at a public hearing last night that preceded the council approving two special permits. Several more local and state approvals are needed before the project can forward, however. The city’s Conservation Commission and the state Department of Transportation must sign off, for instance.
The property is owned by PAM Realty Trust and includes room for 78 parking spaces, according to plans on file at City Hall. Weinstein and Stapinski are developing the project under the name Miami Stuart Realty LLC.
The hotel would be the third in Haverhill, joining the 126-room Hampton Inn on Bank Road and the 110-room Best Western on Lowell Avenue.
“This is the first Haverhill hotel in 25 years,” Migliori said.
Councilor Michael Hart said the project speaks well of Haverhill’s future.
“It’s a positive sign to have this project at this time, coming out of a recession,” Hart said. “And it’s an ideal spot.”
Councilor Thomas Sullivan said he lives near the hotel site and that people he has talked in that part of the city are excited about the proposal.
“I really believe in this project,” Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien said. “I think it’s really going to change that area of the city.”
Lexington by Vantage operates upscale inns and hotels in key cities around the world and is part of Vantage Hospitality Group, the eighth largest hotel company in the world, according to the company’s website. The company has three hotels in New York, but this would be its first in New England.