Indiana, PA - Indiana County

WHITE TOWNSHIP: Hotel plans removed from site designs

by on October 09, 2013 11:00 AM

Plans for expansion at the site of Delaney Indiana LLC’s Honda dealership are moving ahead, but not without significant changes.

While an addition to the site at Oakland Avenue and Route 422 in White Township was slated to include a business hotel and a Hyundai/Subaru dealership, the hotel and related construction have been eliminated from Delaney’s plans.

According to Jack Delaney Jr. of Delaney Automotive, developer Springline Associates, of Encinitas, Calif., scrapped plans for a Marriot after reviewing potential competition in the area.

“It looks like there are several other people looking to get into the Indiana market right now,” he said. “They were uncertain about who was coming in. They were a bit uncomfortable about getting going with the project if another two hotels were coming into the area.”

Plans have been in the works for a five-story Hilton Garden Inn adjacent to the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex by Bander Development and Builders. That hotel is expected to open in August 2014.

Springline’s development, Delaney said, would have had no specific ties to Delaney Indiana LLC, though it was proposed for the same site as the latest dealership. Springline would have owned and operated the hotel.

The development company, which originated in DuBois, is owned by Delaney’s cousin, Thomas Delaney.

Not long after opening a Marriott in April 2012 in DuBois, his business turned an eye toward Indiana, ultimately settling on the upper lot of Delaney’s Oakland Avenue property.

The new dealerships would have gone in on the land behind the dealership.

The final site plan for the dealership and hotel was approved in July. Not long after, those at Springline decided more time was needed to assess the market. Meanwhile, Delaney said, the proposed dealership had to move forward.

“They knew we were kind of under a little bit of a time constraint, so we decided to make the change and rotate the dealership up to the plot where the hotel was going,” he said.

Springline is still considering development in the Indiana area, according to Delaney.

“They still like the market,” he said. “There’s still a lot of conversation among a few different people about coming in with a hotel.

“I think everyone believes the market can support another hotel. Whether it can support two or three is the question.”

Township planners gave the go-ahead to the Hyundai/Subaru dealership’s new final site plan Tuesday, which was revised to eliminate the hotel. Approval was granted pending additional stormwater conditions and review of a geotechnical engineering report.

Delaney anticipates some site clearing at the 11-acre property will begin in a few weeks, once those conditions are met. Construction may begin as early as November.

The new 20,385-square-foot dealership will open in fall 2014, he said.

He couldn’t provide construction costs, but indicated that the change in plans doesn’t impact the project budget much.

Eliminating the hotel plans takes care of the need to move Nehrig Drive, according to officials, an action the original design included.

Whether the addition of a traffic light would be required, too, had been considered when the plan was on the table. That also won’t be necessary, as traffic is anticipated to be lighter without the hotel, according to township manager Milt Lady.

Still, some will be watching the traffic situation closely, particularly those on neighboring Lenz Road, such as township supervisor George Lenz.

“He’s expressed concerns about that intersection before, even when it was in the development phase,” Lady said.

Lenz abstained from voting on the new site plan Tuesday night.

A traffic study may be completed at some point, Lady said.

In addition to the Honda site’s anticipated fall groundbreaking, Delaney’s Water Street location in Indiana Borough is also undergoing construction.

About 10 days ago, crews began a renovation and remodel of the service area and showroom of the Chevrolet and Buick dealership. All parts of the Indiana Borough location are open while construction takes place. The updates, Delaney said, should be done by March.

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for the Indiana Gazette. Among her assignments are coverage of the Apollo-Ridge School and Penns Manor Area school districts and also White Township.
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