A Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel will be built in place of the Red Roof Inn and Suites on Route 896 in Newark near the I-95 on and off ramps.
A subsidiary of Wilmington-based SSN Hotels owns and operates the Red Roof Inn and has had plans for a replacement hotel since late 2016. Newark City Council unanimously approved their latest proposal Monday night.
"Anything is an improvement over what is there," Councilman Travis McDermott said.
SSN Hotels plans to demolish the L-shaped Red Roof Inn and construct a six-story, 126-room hotel at the back of the property parallel to Old Coochs Bridge Road. The new building will have parking on the first floor and hotel rooms and amenities on the upper five floors.
One of Hilton's newest brands, Home2 Suites is an extended stay, contemporary hotel concept.
"We feel this is a gateway into this city," SSN Hotels CEO Peter Bhai previously told Delaware Online/The News Journal. "Let's build a brand-new structure that gives a nice drive into the vibrant city of Newark."
The Home2 Suites is replacing a tan and beige motel built as a Howard Johnson in the 1960s. Multiple members of council shared concerns Monday about the Red Roof Inn's clientele and police activity in the area. Councilwoman Corinth Ford, who represents the area, said she's heard from at least one nearby resident who said they are afraid to walk outside their home at night.
"We are all going to be glad to see that hotel torn down," Ford said.
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The state placed unhoused people in the motel during the COVID-19 pandemic. John Tracey, a land-use attorney representing the developer, said no guests are currently staying at the Red Roof Inn long-term.
City Council attached two conditions to their approval of the new hotel. A six-foot fence must be placed along the rear border of the hotel along Old Cooch's Bridge Road, which divides the commercial area from a housing development. Should noise from trash collection become an issue, the hotel group must install additional noise deadening devices.
The Home2 Suites will be the latest in a string of new businesses on the east side of Route 896 near the entrance to Newark. In 2017, a Jersey Mike's and a Candlewood Suites, also owned by SSN Hotels, opened next to the Red Roof Inn.
For two decades, Friendly's held a spot along Route 896 in front of the Red Roof Inn. The restaurant closed earlier this year. Another developer has plans to demolish it and build a convenience store with gas pumps. The plan has yet to go before the Planning Commission, which makes recommendations to City Council on land-use projects.
SSN Hotels has left open a space to the south of the property for a future development. If a tenant is identified for the space, it will be considered as its own proposal.
SSN Hotels previously proposed a four-story, 98-room Tru by Hilton hotel where the Home2 Suites will be built and a convenience store with gas pumps at the site earmarked for future development.
Tracey said nightly rates at the Home2 Suites will be between $130 and $150.
SSN Hotels operates four hotels in Delaware in addition to 17 hotels in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Its other Delaware properties include the Four Points by Sheraton on South Old Baltimore Pike in Christiana and the American Inn in Rehoboth Beach.
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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Home2 Suites to replace Red Roof in Newark, anchor further development