[caption id="attachment_229737" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Axia Hotel Group of Dover plans to build a new Home2 Suites hotel in Middletown. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
MIDDLETOWN – A new Hilton hotel and two chain restaurants are in the pipeline for the growing Middletown market.In a new development adjacent to Hedgelawn Plaza off of Middletown-Warwick Road near the interchange with the U.S. Route 301 bypass, Dover-based Axia Hotel Group plans to build a new Home2 Suites hotel along with Outback Steakhouse and Chili’s restaurants.Axia acquired the 5-acre lot at the corner of Middletown-Warwick Road and Merrimac Avenue, near The Reserve at Westown apartments and the PHL7 Amazon distribution center, for $3 million in December 2021, according to county land records. The site was once linked to a Rommel Harley Davidson dealership that never panned out and was sold by Maryland-based Rommel Chesapeake.In October, Axia inked a 10-year lease with Outback Steakhouse, bringing the Australian-themed bar and restaurant to Middletown. The restaurants could break ground as early as this summer, Axia President Tom Kramedas told Delaware Business Times.Middletown Mayor Ken Branner Jr. said he was excited about the additions to the booming southern New Castle County town. The restaurants will front Middletown-Warwick Road while the hotel will be located behind them.Kramedas said that his firm enjoys working in Middletown, which has a development-friendly atmosphere.“It seems like they're on the right track. For them to land [WuXi STA Pharmaceutical] was pretty impressive, and I'm hoping that they can get some more employers in that area,” he said.The Home2 Suites will be the northernmost location for that Hilton brand in Delaware after Axia built a prior location in Dover and the Caggiano family built one in Lewes.Kramedas said Middletown does not currently have a hotel that caters to an extended-stay customer who may be traveling for work.“I think we could even see some displaced customers stretching down from Newark because there isn’t currently an extended stay that offers kitchens,” he said.Once completed, the hotel would be the fourth in Middletown, which has grown from a quiet farming town to the fourth largest municipality in the state – quadrupling its population in the last 20 years. Axia has been a major player in Middletown hotels so far, owning and operating the Hampton Inn and backing a joint venture on the Fairfield Inn hotel.