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Work Begins—& Available—At Hotel Site

By April 22, 2021May 20th, 2022Press
Emily Hays Photo
EMILY HAYS PHOTOConstruction beginning at corner of MLK Blvd. and Dwight.
Choice Hotels International

KBE Building Corporation has selected the large steel and concrete contractors for a six-story hotel that will complete development of the “Route 34 West” superblock. Now, it’s time to select subcontractors and fulfill city expectations of minority hiring.

Work has begun on the future Cambria Hotel at the corner of Dwight Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

“It’s early days. Contracts just been executed. Now we’re identifying subcontractor scopes and sending them out to local contractors able to bid on work,” said Lil Snyder, who manages the city’s Small Contractor Development Program.

Snyder offered that explanation at the end of a presentation made Tuesday night in an online meeting for the Dwight and West River neighborhoods. Few neighbors made it to the meeting, aside from Dwight Alder Frank Douglass and West River Alder Tyisha Walker-Myers.

Emily Hays Photo
KBE’s Matthew Peacock: Ready to capture dust with tracking pads, sediment traps, silt fencing, rip rap…

KBE is getting to the potentially noisy and dusty part of the construction process. Representatives provided a detailed timeline of the different stages of construction phases, including the first crane going up in June. Construction manager Matthew Peacock listed the array of tools the company will use to prevent dust from bothering neighbors, such as tracking pads, sediment traps, silt fencing, and rip rap.

Construction started in January, slightly later than initial estimates. The building will start looking complete in March 2022 when the construction crews add on the exterior siding.

More jobs—permanent ones this time—will open in about six months, when the hotel starts hiring staff.

“It’s gratifying to see that despite the hardships of the hospitality industry, they didn’t lose too much time—at least outwardly. I’m sure it was challenging, as it has been for all of us,” said city Economic Development Officer Carlos Eyzaguirre.

Hotels elsewhere have stalled, like the Hilton Garden Inn planned to replace an Art Deco bank building at the corner of Orange and Elm streets.

New Haven Regional Contractors Alliance Managing Director Walter Esdaile reminded the group that the nonprofit is a partner as KBE looks for small and minority subcontractors. The alliance connected subcontractors to paving, landscaping, electrical and painting jobs on the new parking garage that borders the site.

The hotel will fill the last remaining space in the superblock bounded by MLK Boulevard, Dwight Street, Legion Avenue and Orchard Street. Once intended to be part of a highway, the block stayed a parking lot until a 2014 Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) paved the way for new development. Since then, Continuum of Care, Rite Aid, The Learning Experience and a new parking garage have sprouted in the space.

The 130-room hotel would be to the north of the Continuum of Care building. Maryland-based Choice Hotels International would manage the hotel as a Cambria Hotel, one of their upscale brands.

“Thank you for doing a wonderful job over there. Let’s get it done,” Alder Douglass said.

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