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November 9, 2022

East Hartford hotel property to reopen following renovations

COSTAR The former Hartford Hotel & Convention Center on Roberts Street in East Hartford.

Shuttered for several years, the former Hartford Hotel & Convention Center in East Hartford could soon reopen under the Marriott banner.

The New Jersey-based Kautilya Group paid $3.4 million for the hotel on 5 acres at 363 Roberts St. in a deal recorded in August.  The group operates 12 hotels in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio and is moving ahead with plans to renovate and reopen the East Hartford property.

The buyer’s principal is Vinita G. Patel of Millington, New Jersey, according to state business records.

Patel’s husband, Gaurang “Gary” Patel, has applied to East Hartford for a zoning text amendment that would allow “extended stay” hotel rooms on the property, as well as a special permit that would allow a drive-through for an attached restaurant.

Gaurang Patel, who is asset manager for Kautilya Group, said the plan is to create 80 rooms under Marriott’s “Towneplace Suites” brand, which offer kitchenettes, dishwasher and micro-refrigerator for people planning to stay multiple days or weeks.  

Another 64 rooms will run under Marriott’s “Fairfield Inn & Suites” brand, geared toward short-term stays. Patel said he is working to recruit a Starbucks franchise to a 2,400-square-foot restaurant space built into the hotel.

The location will also include a pool, laundry, fitness center and about 3,200 square feet of rental coworking office space, Patel said.

East Hartford’s Planning & Zoning Commission is holding public hearings on Kautilya’s applications Wednesday. Demolition work at the hotel has already been permitted and begun, Patel said. Kautilya will seek building permits for extensive renovations after securing necessary land-use approvals, Patel said. He hopes to open for guests in April or May.

Patel praised East Hartford development and planning staff as cooperative. He said he is working with the administration to secure a tax easing agreement, which is available as the property sits in an enterprise zone.

“This is a good thing for the town because it’s been sitting so long,” Patel said of the vacant hotel. “Every time you pass on (Interstate) 84, you see this closed, tall, white building. Bringing this high-end brand is good for the community.”

Patel said he is also hoping for state assistance incorporating green building materials and systems, such as high-efficiency lighting and solar panels.

Kautilya sold the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham hotel at 191 Spencer St. in Manchester last November for $7.5 million. Patel said the group is reinvesting proceeds from that sale into the East Hartford venture. Patel, however, said it is too early to specify the budget for the East Hartford project. A New York developer bought the Manchester hotel for conversion into apartments.

Patel said the East Hartford location is in proximity to many corporations, government offices, higher education institutions, arenas, sporting venues and other attractions – offering many draws for potential guests. He is also excited about the pending developments at nearby Rentschler Field and the city’s plans to reinvigorate nearby Silver Lane.

“We look at everything,” Patel said. “There are so many activities surrounding this facility.” 

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