Developer rekindles Delaware Park hotel plan
CHRISTIANA – A Pennsylvania developer is planning to build a new hotel near the Delaware Park Casino & Racetrack about five years after a previous proposal didn’t get off the ground.
Titan Hospitality, of Harrisburg, Pa., recently acquired the 3-acre site at 1000 Delaware Park Boulevard for $3.38 million, according to county land records.
The seller was a subsidiary of Blenheim Homes, the Newark-based builder of residential communities, including Bayberry in the Middletown area. It previously built a Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn in Dover, while also acquiring several out-of-state hotels.
Titan is now planning a 133-room, 84,000-square-foot hotel that would sit across the street from the Fairplay Train Station at Delaware Park, near the intersection of Churchman’s Road and Ogletown Stanton Road.
Although Blenheim Hotels had negotiated a franchise with Hilton for a Homewood Suites-branded hotel, a new brand is reportedly interested in the site under Titan’s plans.
Sal Shahriar, president of Titan, has not responded to requests for comment on its plans by Delaware Business Times over the past few weeks.
Titan is an owner-operator of upscale, select service brand hotels situated throughout the Northeast corridor. It has a portfolio of Marriott and Hilton-branded assets with an average building age of about four years.
“Titan’s long-term vision is to become the leading hospitality management company in its class, with a reputation as an operator of premier brands producing market premium return on investment,” the firm states on its website.
A hotel in Christiana would be Titan’s first in Delaware, as it currently owns and operates 15 hotels in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Virginia. It’s closest hotel currently is in Deptford Township, N.J.
When Bleinheim was setting its plans at the site, company officials said it would be geared toward Delaware Park customers, corporate crowds and guests visiting Christiana Hospital. That market strategy would not likely change under plans by Titan.
The plans come after Delaware Park has seen some dramatic changes, as a coalition of investors led by a Canadian private equity firm acquired the casino last year in a sale totaling at least $90 million. The casino and racetrack’s longtime owners, the Rickman family, reached a sale agreement with the investment firm Clairvest Group and a newly formed subsidiary of Rubico Gaming LLC, run by experienced gaming investor Thomas Benninger. He is a licensed gaming operator in multiple states and territories and has served on numerous corporate boards, including major casino operator Caesars Entertainment.
Meanwhile, the state’s hotel occupancy has steadily improved through 2022, largely matching or exceeding 2019 figures, according to Delaware Hotel and Lodging Association data. Delaware’s average occupancy rate through September was 60%, and the all-important revenue per available room metric (RevPar) reached a four-year high the same month at more than $92.
While much of that gain has been buffeted by steadily increasing tourism to Delaware’s coastal beaches, even New Castle County has seen improving occupancy and RevPar rates, falling just shy of 2019 levels as of September.