2 hotels possibly on the horizon for Connellsville
Groundbreaking for a hotel could begin in Connellsville before the end of the year or in early 2014.
Developers from HotelD2 and Grant Forbes recently told city and county officials that acquisition of two sites and the planning are going ahead.
And if things go as planned, Connellsville might have two new hotels.
Chris Rosselot, project spokesman for Grant Forbes, said ground may be broken by the end of the year or shortly after on the site of the former Connellsville Bottling Works at 237-239 N. First St., West Side, between the Yough River Trail — part of the Great Allegheny Passage — and the Youghiogheny River.
“We've been meeting with various consultants, engineering firms and so forth, getting the lay of the land and getting a closer look at site,” said Rosselot, who has been working in conjunction with his father, Tom Rosselot, owner/president of HotelD2, on the developments.
”Things are moving,” Chris Rosselot said.
A plan for a second hotel on the site of the now-closed Sidewinders Bar at 225 N. Water St., almost across the street from the Amtrak station, will take longer.
Issues such as a federal lien on the property and a judgment against the owners, James T. and Jennifer L. Emerick, by former owner Robert L. Morrison must be overcome.
“I guess each site brings different issues,” said Rosselot. “There are various legal issues there. But that's not to say they can't be overcome.”
Rosselot said there has been no opposition from the property owners at either site.
“Even with that one (the Sidewinders site,) the property owners seem to want to come to the table,” he said.
Another hurdle: Both sites lie on the flood plain.
The developers must seek clearance from the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies. However, Rosselot does not see that as an impossible obstacle.
He said the two hotels would serve different functions.
The one on the West Side will be developed to meet the needs of users of the Yough River Trail. The hotel on the Sidewinders site will cater more to the business traveler.
Michael Jordan, executive director of the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, along with Fayette County Commissioner Al Ambrosini and several city officials, met with the developers for an update on the project this week. Jordan described it as a “working session” and not a formal meeting.
The hotel at the Sidewinders site could become a popular stop for people from Washington who could bring their bicycles to Connellsville on Amtrak's Capitol Limited train, which arrives in Connellsville for a scheduled stop at 9:47 p.m., Jordan said. They could stay in the hotel overnight, then cross the river the next day and bicycle back to Washington.
The hotel location, just a few blocks from Connellsville's downtown area, would be an easy walk for visitors, he noted.
“This has huge potential,” said Jordan.
Jordan, along with Connellsville Mayor Charles Matthews and Councilman Gregory Ritch, emphasized the date for a groundbreaking has not been set.
Matthews said there is hope a timeline for the projects will be developed soon.
There are added incentives for the developers from the city. A five-year tax abatement, keeping tax rates at their current levels and not a higher level, would be part of the package, Ritch said.
The city will give the developer a small piece of property near the West Side site as part of the deal, Matthews said. The city owns the property, which will go back on the tax rolls.
Jordan, Matthews and Ritch all emphasized Monday's session was not a formal meeting.
Attempts to contact Ambrosini were unsuccessful on Thursday. But Jordan and Connellsville officials praised him for the work he has done to procure the development package.
And the developers say they appreciate the effort from the county and local officials.
“I can't speak highly enough of the redevelopment authority and Michael Edwards, the city officials and county commissioners, even from the regional Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau,” said Chris Rosselot. “All are on the same page. It's a great partnership.”
Edwards was not available for comment on Thursday.
“It's a sign that Connellsville is moving forward,” said Ritch.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-626-3538.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Falcons to host ‘Kitty Cat Game’
- Car, bike show to outfit police
- Home brew returns
- ‘Zombieville’ rises again
- Apple Dumpling Festival planned at Connellsville Presbyterian Church
- Fayette County Prison Board to meet in closed session
- Connellsville author releases series of 3 books
- Pioneer Days a celebration of Perryopolis past
- Ambrosini won’t give up on new prison for Fayette County
- Zombie Prom to benefit nonprofit