Published on December 3rd, 2012 | by NSB Observer
First New Hotel on Flager Ave in Over 50 Years
The long-awaited Hampton Inn and Suites on Flagler Avenue is due to open December of this year, despite its delayed start and staggered building process. The hotel’s builder David Swentor is confident it was well worth the wait.
When the hotel was first proposed to be built in the historic business district, there were a few vocal residents who fought it. The developer’s believe they have “done everything possible” to not only minimize the effect on locals in the immediate surrounding area but also to blend in with the small town charm.
While traveling down Flagler Avenue it may be surprisingly easy to miss the hotel if it weren’t for the construction crews. The intentionally minimal façade is part of the effort to blend in and have a more residential appearance, while keeping the bulk of the hotel behind it.
As visitors walk into the spacious lobby to check in, they will be greeted by the featured works of local artists. The 112 room Hampton Inn, while not pet friendly, won’t be lacking in other guest amenities. Laundry facilities and vending machines will be provided, as well as elevators, a large workout center, sundries shop and outdoor pool. Although the hotel does not have a restaurant, they will offer a hot breakfast buffet for guests each morning.
Most rooms have connecting doors, but a few of the larger suites have an optional external door that can be locked to close off the two rooms, creating one family suite.
Randy McHenry, our tour guide, describes the hotel as multifunctional – explaining it has the capacity to hold weddings under its gazebo in the courtyard, or large business conferences inside. The large conference room on the first floor can accommodate a couple hundred people, while two 30 sq. foot rooms are available for smaller functions. Outside catering is allowed for events. All of the facilities provide Wi-Fi, but are also hard wired. Ample parking prevents traffic from over flowing to the street during larger events.
Despite all the extras and guest accommodations, locals still have concerns about the Hampton Inn’s impact on the community and the environment. The builders have gone through great effort to assure issues have been addressed.
Constructing such a large project often means complete removal of natural foliage. However, in this case not only were all the oak trees on site preserved, 28 additional oak trees were planted. Thousands of dollars in palm trees, sea grapes and holy trees were also added to create a natural canopy and surroundings in the years to come. Hedges along residential streets were planted to separate the hotel from the locals and preserve their privacy.
Main access to and from the parking lot is on Flagler Avenue. The entire parking lot was created using pervious concrete, which allows rain water to seep down into the soil beneath directly to the tree’s roots. This also helps to prevent flooding during storms.
Rain water from the roof will be stored in a 37,000 gallon underground tank and will be used as the primary irrigation source. In times of drought well water will be used rather than city water. A portion of the building was placed on large footings to prevent any damage to existing oak tree roots.
Energy conservation efforts have been made throughout the interior, including 14 watt LED bulbs, positive pressure air conditioning and a system requiring guests to insert their room key to use the electricity in order to prevent waste while not in the room. The linens will all be laundered on site with washing machines that spin at 2,600 rpm to lower drying time. All of these efforts have earned the Hampton Inn a LEED certification.
The opening of the hotel will bring 35 new jobs to New Smyrna, but the management positions will be filled through the Hampton Inn Corporation. The developer’s wanted to make sure the hotel didn’t take away from the historic street’s beauty, explaining “we have done everything we can to minimize the street presence” and “I think we’ve added a great deal of charm.”
The building’s façade is accented with natural Florida stone, coastal Bahamas-style shutters and faux balconies.
Room prices will fluctuate with the season, and will be consistent with other Hampton Inns.
While some locals are still nervous, the developers feel the community will be pleased with the city’s latest addition and surrounding businesses will reap the benefits.
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* Photographs taken by Kelsey Arnold