Hotel proposed for downtown Kennett Square
By Steven Hoffman
An upscale hotel designed to match the historic character of Kennett Square has been proposed for the 100 block of South Broad Street.
Preliminary details about the project were unveiled at the Aug. 7 meeting of Kennett Square Borough Council.
The Kennett Realty Group is looking to construct the new hotel with approximately 100 to 110 rooms at the intersection of Broad and Cypress streets. The hotel would include a small restaurant that would serve quick foods for guests, meeting room spaces, and most likely two levels of parking that would occupy the lowest levels of the building.
The Kennett Realty Group is a collaboration between two regional leaders in real estate development: Harvey, Hanna & Associates and The Commonwealth Group. Harvey, Hanna & Associates is a third-generation business that ranks among Delaware's largest real estate development companies. The Commonwealth Group, meanwhile, has been actively engaged in development, leasing and management services throughout the Mid-Atlantic region for more than 40 years. Donald S. Robitzer, Jr., the vice president of the Commonwealth Group, and Thomas J. Hanna, the chief operating officer of Harvey, Hanna & Associates, were on hand to help with the presentation and to answer any questions from borough officials. Edward M. Foley, an attorney with Brutscher, Foley, Milliner & Land, LLP, led the presentation.
Foley, Robitzer, and Hanna all characterized Kennett Square as an economically vibrant community that would be a good fit for this kind of project.
Hanna credited Robitzer with having the initial vision for the project. He also commented about Kennett Square being a destination for both travelers visiting Longwood Gardens or other local Brandywine Valley attractions and residents in the area who are attracted to the borough's charming shops and restaurants.
Only the very basic details of the plan are known at this point. The Kennett Realty Group already has an agreement in place to purchase the properties where the hotel will be situated from the Bosley Group if the project moves forward. Those properties are currently houses being utilized mostly as office space. There are numerous details that need to be resolved as the project goes through the land-development process. There could be as many as seven or eight floors in the hotel. It is being proposed for an area that is included in the borough's tall building overlay district, not far from the Franklin Center building, where the height limit is 75 feet. Exton, Pa.-based Architectural Concepts is attached to the project as the architect.
Several council members offered brief comments about the concept plans, and although the comments were generally positive, there are some hurdles to overcome. One of the largest will certainly be parking.
Council member Ethan Cramer pointed out that the borough finds itself in a position where there has been inadequate parking for more than a decade, which limits the borough's ability to make concessions on parking moving forward.
Foley pointed out that the very preliminary plans that they do have for the project at this point include a significant amount of parking, although perhaps not enough that would be required by borough regulations. However, he noted that hotels tend to need parking mostly at night and on weekends, which tend to be lighter times for downtowns.
Council member Dan Maffei said that the proposal could have some obvious economic benefits for the borough.
There could be 200 jobs in the borough during construction, and perhaps as many as 40 to 45 full-time and part-time jobs once the hotel is completed. Guests of the hotel would no doubt spend significant money in local shops and residents, increasing the economic impact of the hotel on the local economy.