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Plan would turn former Hampton motel into apartments

Deborah Deasy | Hampton Journal -
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Deborah Deasy | Hampton Journal</em></div>
Deborah Deasy | Hampton Journal - Kress Brothers builders of Hampton plans to turn former Econolodge into 51 apartments.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Deborah Deasy | Hampton Journal</em></div>Kress Brothers builders of Hampton plans to turn former Econolodge into 51 apartments.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Kress Brothers Builders of Hampton plans to convert the one-time Conley's motel — and former Econo Lodge — on Route 8 into 51 one- and two- bedroom apartments.

“We're earmarking about $3.5 million for this whole renovation job,” said Glenn Kress, 71, of West Deer, president of the Kress Brothers Builders.

“What we're planning on is a mixture of apartments and commercial space, and they would be separated,” Kress said. “The apartments would be around $1,100 a month — plus utilities.”

Kress plans to use three former motel rooms to create each new two-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot apartment.

He also plans to put decks on the proposed apartments.

“If we're lucky, we could start construction by December,” he said. “It would be at least late summer next year before anything would be ready.”

An Asian restaurant now operates in one end of the otherwise vacant motel.

“It's been abandoned for a while,” said Martin Orban, land use administrator for Hampton Township. “I think there is a demand for apartments now and you're seeing an adjustment to that demand.”

But Hampton Township Zoning Hearing Board first must give Kress permission to exceed the township's maximum 35-foot height limit for structures before Hampton Council can approve land development plans for the makeover.

Kress wants to add a hip roof — with sloping sides — to the existing flat top, which would increase the structure's maximum height to 45 feet in some places.

“We don't want it to look like a renovated motel,” Kress said. “If you just leave a flat roof on it, that's what it's going to look like.”

A decision by Hampton Township Zoning Hearing Board on Kress' request for a variance is expected before the end of July.

“We look forward to working with Mr. Kress to make his plans a reality,” said Christopher Lochner, manager of Hampton Township.

“We're noticing that a lot of our (apartment) complexes are full,” Lochner said. “There does seem to be a market for upscale apartments in Hampton.”

Kress Brothers Builders bought the vacant Econo Lodge about two years ago, Kress said.

“The reason you can't make it a motel any more is because the rooms are too large and utilities are too expensive,” he said. “That building was started in 1951 and was continually added on to, and renovated, until 1963.”

Kress plans to add a Pioneer Road entrance to the complex for future tenants, and to use the motel's former pool area for retail commercial space.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369.

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