New Fairfield Inn hotel opens in Middletown
MIDDLETOWN – A third hotel has opened in the town of Middletown, as its ownership prepares to take advantage of the fastest-growing New Castle County market.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites, owned by a joint venture of Dover-based Axia Hotel Group and Virginia-based Retreat Hotels & Resorts, cut its ribbon Oct. 24 after opening to the public in September, joining a Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express already operating in town.
For JJ Singh, president of Retreat Hotels & Resorts, a company formed last year as a joint venture between Ohio-based developer Orlean Company and Delaware-based Leon N. Weiner & Associates (LNWA), it was the conclusion of a long-sought-after project.
They began looking at potential sites back in 2018 and found the final parcel off Merrimac Avenue in the Westown shopping center, closing the deal for just over $1 million in 2019, according to county land records.
Construction on the 90-key hotel began in early 2021, and the project brought more than $10 million of investment into the community, with more than 75% of the contractors and subcontractors coming from Delaware. The hotel is expected to generate more than $3 million in annual direct economic activity in Middletown, and employs 26 associates, most of whom live in Middletown.
“I’ve always known Middletown as a growing and thriving place,” said Singh, who was previously director of hospitality for LNWA. “This place is rich with amenities, including all the restaurants, Walmart and movie theater around the site, and it’s right off the new U.S. Route 301 bypass. And there’s always new activity coming to Middletown in the commercial office. So, we said we need to be the first to bring a Marriott to town.”
With no other Marriott-branded hotel in a 15-mile radius, Singh said the owners were targeting brand-loyal customers in the region.
“You don’t want to just steal market share from other hotels, you want to grow the pie,” he said. “The way you grow the pie is No. 1: continued economic development. And No. 2: you bring in Marriott loyalty rewards guests that would otherwise not stay in Middletown.”
So far, the Fairfield Inn has seen steady business in the first weeks of business, Singh said.
“September was crazy with Firefly being so close by, along with some other events and spillover from the University of Delaware,” he added. “We’re mostly sold out on weekends. During the week, it’s a matter of building that steady base of business and we’re already doing pretty well.”
The hotel features an indoor pool, a large fitness center, along with a unique outdoor patio that includes seating for dining and a firepit.
“This hotel is the next great addition to our portfolio,” added Tom Kramedas, president of Axia Management, the asset manager of the hotel. “We have been in Middletown since 2006 and operated the Hampton Inn, as well as many other hotels across Delaware. This new hotel is perfectly situated and a nice addition to the market.”