Somerset Hotel, restaurant project in progress

SOMERSET – You may have noticed the new traffic lights with dedicated turn signals pointing to and from a Route 6 construction site across from Home Depot.

These and other off-site improvements, including new sidewalks and the widening of a stretch of road, are an integral part of what has been described as a $ 20 million commercial and office development project. .

The centerpiece of the Fairfield Commons project will be a Fairfield Inn by Marriott hotel perched atop the highest and elevated portion of the 14.3-acre site.

Construction of the hotel-restaurant project, located on the north side of Route 6, or GAR highway, was not delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to its promoter and owner.

“We never stopped,” said Marc A. Landry, director of High Road Hospitality, a Somerset-based development and management company.

Landry said the 111-room, four-story “upper-middle-scale” hotel will open in the fall.

He said the initial task of chopping down trees in what used to be “deep woods” began in April 2019. The hotel’s first groundbreaking took place in July of the same year.

The commercial site will include a Starbucks with a drive-thru lane that will share space with one or more tenants in a separate building under construction below and to the east of the hotel.

Landry says he will also construct a third building closer to the hotel that could accommodate a full-service restaurant. But he says negotiations with a potential tenant were unsuccessful and it would be premature to give up names.

The final piece of the project’s puzzle is two acres of land in the far northeast accessible by a small Landry Bridge built near a “seasonal stream” that is “prone to flooding.”

“We’re going to build something there,” he said.

The High Road portfolio, according to the company’s website, includes eight management and development projects, most of which are hotels that include both the Marriott International and Hampton by Hilton brands.

Landry, who set out on his own in 2005 to form High Road Hospitality – after previously working on hotel projects with Westport’s LaFrance Hospitality Group – formed the South Coast Hospitality LLC, or limited liability company, to undertake the Somerset Project.

He says the Somerset Fairfield Inn will be his third hotel franchise.

South Coast Hospitality paid $ 750,000 for the property in 2017 after a special vote at the Somerset City Assembly. Landry said that before making its offer, the city had already issued a request for proposal twice in an attempt to attract a buyer.

The site is less than a kilometer west of the Veterans Memorial Bridge which connects Somerset to Fall River.

Plans and projections for the project indicated that the city would collect approximately $ 500,000 in annual taxes from operating the hotel.

An application submitted by the city for a state infrastructure grant program, which was approved in 2018, said the entire Fairfield Commons enterprise is likely to generate between $ 3.5 million and $ 5 million in new annual tax revenues.

Landry says that despite the severe national economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – not to mention all the associated social distancing requirements and adjustments – he is confident the hospitality industry can thrive.

“Business travel is down, but people will travel again,” he said.

And as the U.S. airline industry continues to lose billions of dollars to the pandemic, Landry says he expects demand to be strong for hotels to provide accommodation to more and more people. Americans traveling on the roads.

Landry says the Somerset Fairfield Inn is the first hotel built in the Fall River area since construction began in 1987 on the Hampton Inn by Hilton Fall River / Westport.

And he says he couldn’t be happier with the location.

“I fell in love with this site,” he said.

Landry, 62, says the central location allows hotel guests access to a number of amenities in both Somerset and Fall River, including supermarkets, restaurants, retail stores and shops. banks.

“You have a line of sight. You can walk to Fall River from here, ”he said. “This location has all the attributes to make a hotel a success.

It also emphasizes the physical proximity of Interstate 195 and Route 24.

Landry said he expects a mixed clientele at the Somerset Fairfield Inn – which will have an indoor pool, exercise and meeting rooms, a continental breakfast but no room service, restaurant or ballroom.

Among that clientele, he said, will be a cross section of business and leisure travelers, the latter, he said, on their way to family reunions, weddings, funerals and military events.

Landry stressed that the state grant funding Somerset received two years ago was essential.

“This project depended on it,” he said.

Somerset received $ 880,000 as part of a grant from the MassWorks infrastructure program, specifically for road improvement and Highway 6 intersections to support Fairfield Commons.

Landry said South Coast Hospitality has agreed to contribute $ 300,000 to this Highway 6 infrastructure improvement project.

“Everyone benefits,” he said, adding that he expects up to 30 full-time and part-time workers to be hired to work at the hotel.

Landry said reputable hotels have always boasted of cleanliness and, as such, have no difficulty adjusting to social distancing and other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We already wash the sheets daily and will follow CDC guidelines and protocol,” he said, adding that the new rooms at the Fairfield Inn will be less crowded than older versions.

“We’re going to disinfect everything, including the remotes,” he said.

Landry says all rooms will be equipped with 55-inch flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, and coffeemakers.

“The rooms are bigger now than they were, say in the ’80s,” he said, noting that each room is 14 feet wide.

Fairfield Commons will have two vehicle access points.

The intersection with the new turn signal will allow incoming or outgoing traffic to turn right or left.

Further west and much closer to the hotel, vehicles will only be allowed to turn right, either stopping on Route 6 or leaving the premises.

The general contractor for the project is Bentley Builders of North Kingstown, RI

Landry grew up in Fall River, attended Bishop Connolly High School, and graduated with a marketing degree from UMass Dartmouth.

He says he first specialized in restaurant management, notably at the former Providence Biltmore hotel, before learning the ropes of the monument and hotel development profession.

During a walking tour of the still unfinished Somerset Hotel, Landry pointed out that concrete block and plank construction is used to ensure a high degree of soundproofing between rooms.

“I sell sleep,” he explained.

Construction is underway in Somerset of a new Fairfield by Marriott hotel on Route 6. Herald News photo by Charles Winokoor
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About Angelita A. Blanchard

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