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Harvey, Hanna to build new Hyatt hotel near Lewes

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The Hyatt House in Lewes, seen here as the typical prototype, is being built by Harvey, Hanna & Associates near Five Points. | PHOTO COURTESY OF HHA

LEWES – Banking on a strong post-pandemic recovery, Newport-based developer Harvey, Hanna & Associates (HHA) announced Dec. 17 the start of two new Hyatt-branded hotels in its growing portfolio.

The 105-room Hyatt House near Lewes recently broke ground near the intersection of northbound Route 1 and Marsh Road, south of Five Points. Meanwhile, HHA will also build the bayfront Hyatt Place in Kent Narrows, Md.

“While COVID-19 has disrupted the hospitality industry nationwide, we strongly believe in the fundamentals that exist within the Mid-Atlantic’s drive-to resort markets. There are more than 30 million people located within a three-hour drive of the Delmarva Peninsula,” said Thomas J. Hanna, president of the firm, in a statement.

HHA was the first to build a Hyatt hotel in Delaware, opening the Hyatt Place in Dewey Beach in 2013. Its hotel management affiliate TKo Hospitality Management currently operates nine hotels and will oversee the two newly announced ones. The multi-faceted firm already has three other hotels in development in Newark, Chadds Ford, Pa.; and Allentown, Pa.

New construction on hotels has slowed through the pandemic as bookings have fallen nearly 25% statewide year-over-year as of October, according to the Delaware Hotel and Lodging Association. Many hoteliers remain bullish on the idea of visitors and travel ticking back up starting as soon as 2021 as vaccines are administered, pointing to 2019’s 60% occupancy total for Delaware rooms – a five-year high.

Hanna said his firm was “confident in the anticipated post-COVID recovery throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, and we are positioning HHA and its partners for new challenges and greater successes.” The hotel is scheduled for a summer 2021 opening.

The new Lewes-area hotel will be fully extended-stay-focused, with all 105 rooms featuring suites with kitchenettes. While it clearly targets beachgoers looking to visit for multiple nights in the summertime, HHA also said it was “well-positioned to accommodate patrons related to the expanding health care systems in Sussex County and the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and the Environment.”

The Hyatt House will compete directly with the neighboring 110-room Homes 2 Suites by Hilton, which opened in September under ownership by the Caggiano family.

Bancroft Construction, of Wilmington, will serve as the general contractor for the Lewes Hyatt, while WSFS Bank provided the construction financing for the project. It backed the project with an $18 million mortgage, according to county records.

In the Maryland project, the Hyatt Place in Kent Narrows will host 120 rooms, all with a view of the Chesapeake Bay off U.S. Route 50 near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. HHA is partnering with Kent Narrows-based Schulz Development on the project that also features a 5,000 square-foot conference center and 44-slip marina. GGA Construction, of Middletown, will serve as the general contractor for the hotel currently scheduled for a spring 2022 opening.

By Jacob Owens

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