Hotel, townhouses extend Manchester’s renaissance

Last summer, the new Fisher Cats Stadium brought thousands of baseball fans to the southern edge of the Manchester Millyard. By next season, they will be joined by hotel guests and townhouse dwellers as a sweeping $70 million development progresses along the Merrimack River.

The 127-room Hilton Garden Hotel, under construction on nearly three acres near the baseball park entrance, is on track to open in February, said developer David Roedel. Townhouse developer Eric Chinburg said model units are open as units go on sale.

Restaurant plans seek parking space

Roedel expects the six-story Hilton Garden to draw mainly business travelers, although wedding-goers and visitors to area colleges should help fill rooms on the weekends, he said.

Hotel occupancy in Manchester swelled last year by 10 percent, Roedel said, so he expects the market to support Hilton Garden rates of $125 to $225 a night. Although Roedel said the Fisher Cats will not necessarily be a main attraction for guests, the park is well noted on his company’s Web site.

The hotel is located at the “left-center field outfield wall of the baseball park, offering guests unobstructed views from guest rooms, conference rooms and the elevated, seasonal patio and the outdoor spa,” it states.

The Wilton-based Roedel Companies LLC already manages the Hilton Garden Inn in Fishkill, N.Y., the Holiday Inn Express and suites in Auburn, Mass., and two Chalet Navy hotels for the U.S. Navy in Groton, Conn.

The company also expects to make an additional investment in the Manchester Millyard, less than a mile from the current project.

Roedel is planning to turn the Pandora mill building, at the corner of Granite and South Commercial streets, into a four-star hotel and 10 luxury condominiums. The building, owned by Dean Kamen and considered the last major property to be redeveloped in the Millyard, was built in the 1850s by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Co.

According to preliminary plans, the facility would have about 100 guest rooms, a gourmet restaurant and martini bar. The condominiums would feature marble baths, 15-foot vaulted ceilings, and owners will have use of the hotel’s fitness center, spa, room service and housekeeping, according to the Roedel Web site.

‘A neat city’

South of the baseball stadium, meanwhile, homebuyers are getting their first peek at the first of 45 townhouses being constructed on a 10.7-acre riverfront parcel. Model units were opened at RiverWalk Place about three weeks ago, and buyers have signed binding purchase-sale agreements for about nine townhouses, said developer Chinburg.

So far, sales of the two-bedroom townhouses, which range in price from $299,000 to $449,000, are tracking expectations. The buyers, who are from Claremont, Manchester and Boston, are younger professionals and empty-nesters, he said.

“This is for the person who wants to live downtown, and there is a national movement toward downtowns,” said Chinburg, of Durham-based Chinburg Builders Inc. “The main draw is the renaissance of Manchester. It is a neat city.”

Chinburg — whose other projects include the Porter Street Town Houses in Portsmouth and the Bryant Rock condominiums, in a former Newmarket mill — said his firm is providing something unique in Manchester: luxury downtown housing. The highest priced units have two-car garages, two balconies and a patio overlooking the river, as well as the potential for creating a third bedroom and bath.

Two six-unit buildings are well under way and a third has been started. Depending on sales, all could be completed by early 2007.

Early next year, the company will break ground on the first of two mid-rise condominium towers planned for the same site. Each will have 102 two-bedroom units, with prices expected to range from the low $200,000s to the mid-$400,000s for penthouse condos. The top-end condominiums will have views of both the river and the Fisher Cats stadium.

The first tower will be ready for occupancy in late 2007, Chinburg said.

Categories: News