By Ken Mammarella
Special to Delaware Business Times
The new SpringHill Suites by Marriott at 402 Ogletown Road in Newark held a grand opening event Thursday.
"The gateway to Newark has a grand new showcase," said George Danneman, president of Danneman Hospitality, which owns the hotel property.
The 132-suite hotel, Marriott's first in Delaware, is geared toward travelers staying two or three nights, such as business people, sports teams and families visiting the University of Delaware, said Vince DiFonzo, president and chief operating officer of TKo Hospitality, an affiliate of Harvey, Hanna & Associates and manager of hotel operations.
The five-story, 175,000-square-foot hotel overlooks a mural-painted underpass on Capital Trail, which leads to the eastern edge of downtown Newark. Danneman said the $20 million hotel was built without government funding.
The suites are 395 to 425 square feet, "with separate areas to sleep, work and relax," including a microwave, a mini-fridge, a West Elm sofa (which converts to a daybed or trundle bed) and in larger ones two queen beds.
The rack rate is $159 to $199, said Scott Craver, the hotel's general manager. Amenities include a hot breakfast, an indoor pool, a fitness center and, considering its market niche, just one 340-square-foot meeting room.
A pad on the two-acre site awaits a restaurant, with leasing led by DSM Commercial Real Estate Services of Newark.
The hotel employs 36 full-timers and a few part-timers, DiFonzo said. Students in the University of Delaware hospitality program helped with the launch.
The Dannemans opened their first fabric store in downtown Newark in 1948 and within a decade owned 12 stores in six states. They moved their Newark store a half-mile east to this site in 1978. After taking Dannemann Fabrics public and selling it around 1980, the family invested in commercial real estate in Delaware. The fabric store on Ogletown Road closed in the 1990s, Danneman said.
"Isn't this great? It's a victory for persistence," said Gene, George's mother, of the time it took to plan and develop the project.