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Groundbreaking for Connellsville hotel shifts to January

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 6:36 p.m.
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This architect's rendering shows the side of the proposed Cobblestone Inn that will face the Youghiogheny River on Connellsville's West Side.

Groundbreaking for a new hotel, estimated at just under $5 million, on Connellsville's West Side has been pushed back to January.

Originally, officials had hoped to break ground on Dec. 16.

Chris Rosselot, project spokesperson with Grant Forbes, said more details must be worked out before the groundbreaking can be scheduled. These include negotiations between developer HotelD2, contractors and the potential hotel owner, Cobblestone.

“The project is still on,” said Rosselot. “We are just going to push back the groundbreaking.”

Drawings from Jim MacMullan of JMAC Architects of Bridgeville show a three-story structure with two wings, separated by a center section with a driveway running through it. The driveway through the building would provide protection for patrons accessing the lobby.

“Architecturally designed to fit nicely in primarily a residential neighborhood, the proposed Cobblestone will offer the qualities and amenities associated with a smaller boutique hotel,” said Tom Rosselot, president of HotelD2, the project developer. “Our development team is convinced that the hotel design package will capture the attention of both seasoned business travelers and leisure travelers alike.

“One of the more unique features of the hotel geared for recreational trail and water users, will be a half dozen eco-friendly modular overnight cabins. Each unit will be flexible enough to accommodate one to six overnight guests. They will be centered around a fire pit on the hotel property and will be available seasonally to the more hearty trail users. Hotel amenities will still be available to cabin users.

“There will be accommodations outside the hotel, which will provide an area for bicycle detailing and routine maintenance.”

The entire structure, to be built between the Youghiogheny River and the Great Allegheny Passage, will be raised 3 feet higher than the current elevation to keep the first floor above the flood plain. The former bottling plant will be demolished before site work begins.

The hotel could be finished before the end of 2014.

Potential guests include bikers and hikers along the trail. Those traveling on Amtrak by rail from the Washington area or those from the Midwest could leave the Capitol Limited with their bicycles or hiking gear, cross the river and stay overnight in the hotel before heading east along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Amtrak may include bicycle racks on the Capitol Limited.

Last week, Connellsville City Council took steps to make the development of the long-awaited hotel become a reality.

Council adopted a resolution to enable Hotel d2 Services LLC to purchase and develop the former Connellsville Bottling Co. on First Street from owners Cheryl C. Casini and Ralph C. Bosley.

Councilman Brad Geyer said the construction of the hotel will boost real estate taxes in the city.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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