Hilton eyes North Haven for Hampton Inn

BY Natalie Missakian

A rendering of Hampton Inn's new 2019 prototype.
The Hilton Hotel chain is to looking build a Hampton Inn & Suites on a vacant site in front of the Cinemark movie theater in North Haven's bustling retail hub on Universal Drive.

Jeffrey Gordon, president of Orange-based planning and engineering firm Codespoti & Associates, said it's still early in the process, but a franchisee for the chain wants to build a 60,000-square-foot, 105-room hotel on 2.5 acres at 550 Universal Drive.

The project cleared its first hurdle earlier this month when the town's Planning and Zoning Commission approved a zoning amendment to allow for construction of the four-story hotel, Gordon said in a phone interview Wednesday morning.

He said the previous zoning regulations were outdated in that they permitted only two-story hotels, which is not in line with contemporary, vertical hotel designs.

Gordon, whose firm represents the applicant, expects to submit a site plan to the town by March. If the town approves, he said construction could begin as soon as this fall.

Gordon said the site is an ideal location for the hotel, citing proximity to the highway and the adjacent movie theater and wide selection of shops and chain restaurants nearby.

"If you're coming into town on business, to have everything right at your doorstep like that is really great," he said.

Icon Architecture Group, based in West Fargo, N.D., will design the hotel based on Hilton's new 2019 Hampton Inn prototype, Gordon said.

The new design calls for 2,000 fewer square feet and includes modernized public spaces and guestrooms, according to a Hilton press release.

Gordon said the franchisee, whom he declined to name, is interested in building three or four additional hotels in southern Connecticut.

North Haven First Selectman Mike Freda could not immediately be reached for comment on the proposal Wednesday morning. He told the Meriden Record-Journal that large local companies have requested more hotel options for traveling executives.

Currently, the only other hotel in town is the Best Western Plus at 201 Washington Ave., Gordon said.

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