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Boutique hotel coming to downtown Wilmington

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WILMINGTON – The Buccini/Pollin Group next year plans to open Wilmington’s first luxury boutique hotel, topped by the city’s first rooftop lounge and event venue.

BPG, Delaware’s largest real estate developer, has hired the Method Co. of Philadelphia to operate the hotel, at 519 N. Market St. BPG, which counts the nearby Hotel DuPont in its portfolio of 40 hotels, referred all queries to Method.

The downtown hotel will have 24 rooms “at a $300+ level price point,” according to Method. It will also have a ground-floor restaurant and lower-level cocktail lounge, with everything operated by Method.

The project is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2022, with many details still being worked on, including the name of the hotel.

BPG purchased the building owned since 2000 by the Christina Cultural Arts Center for $915,000 in February, according to New Castle County land records.

Method accentuated the site’s history by releasing a black and white National Park Service photo of the 1885 building for its announcement. Method described it as a “two-story Victorian Romanesque brownstone” by Frank Furness, the Philadelphia architect who also designed the Amtrak station and several other downtown buildings. “The project involves the historic renovation and adaptive reuse” with Philadelphia-based firm Stokes Architecture, according to Method.

The former Central National Bank, built in 1885, will see new life as a luxury hotel. | PHOTO COURTESY THE NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE

Boutique hotels are “small properties with big personalities (that) offer stylish stays,” Visit Philadelphia says on a page that showcases 13 hotels – including several run by Method – with guest rooms featuring antique furnishings, avant-garde pieces and a lot of exposed brick.

Boutique hotels are a positive development in the industry, said Srikanth Beldona, a hospitality and sport business management professor at the University of Delaware. “The industry had become very commoditized, and driven by price. Hotels realized that they need to break away and offer distinctive experiences,” often related to their local community.

“Will it capture something that is the essence of Wilmington?” he asked. “Wilmington’s character is hard to wrap around, and it’ll be a challenge, but it can be done.”

Beldona suggested local themes could include the Brandywine School of Illustration, Wilmington’s industrial heritage, its history as the First State and Delawarean Joe Biden.

BPG co-founder Dave Pollin told The News Journal the hotel will cater to travelers who are “less price-sensitive and often focus more on a hotel’s experiential offering than just the nightly room rate.” 

The announced “$300+ level price point” is an aggressive one. A recent search for Hotel DuPont accommodations found rooms as low as $177, with some dates starting at $355. At the Inn at Montchanin – a luxury inn 4 miles from downtown, with a boutique wedding business – rooms usually start below $200, a search found.

“The hospitality nature of our project, with a boutique hotel and several restaurant concepts, will offer different experiences to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike,” Method founder Randall Cook said in a statement.

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1 Comment

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    KGR February 9, 2022

    “travelers who are ‘less price-sensitive'”….you mean poor people?!?!?! Definitely not gentrification, right?


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