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Work at old Howard Johnson’s site stalled by issues with parking, drive-thru, and breakfast menu

For months plans have been in place to bring two new hotels to the old Howard Johnson’s Motel site in Dewitt, but as viewers have noticed, there hasn't been much work at the location.
DeWitt (WSYR-TV) - For months plans have been in place to bring two new hotels to the old Howard Johnson’s Motel site in Dewitt, but as viewers have noticed, there hasn't been much work at the location.

Boarded up windows and crumbling rooftops greet visitors every day in Carrier Circle.

A developer pitched a cleanup plan with two brand new hotels years ago. But, they keep hitting hurdles.

The latest hurdle?

"McDonalds wants to make sure that the hotels do not interfere in their breakfast business," said DeWitt Town Councilor Joseph Chiarenza.

There's no way to access the hotel site unless a neighbor, like McDonald's, allows customers to drive through their property.

"They are looking for the hotel's menu and it is kind of tough because the hotel is kind of unsure of what the menu is going to be. We haven't even built the building yet. So, they are kind of up in arms," Chiarenza said.

During a Dewitt Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Monday, a landscape architect laid out the vision for two hotels. One four-story Home 2 Suites Hotel would have 78 rooms. Presenter Edward Keplinger said Home 2 Suites is a relatively new brand under the Hilton umbrella.

Nearby, a 68-room unnamed hotel has been proposed. Keplinger said the developer is still looking for a brand for the second hotel.

The zoning board gave the go ahead for the changes they can approve, but say the rest is up to corporate handshakes regarding the menu, reconfigured parking spaces and shifting the drive-thru to make room.

"McDonalds now has an approved site plan, which shows the reconfiguration of their lot to incorporate the new roadway and now I just think it's a matter of the final details,” said Sam Gordon, the DeWitt Director of Department of Planning and Zoning.

Town representatives and the architect say a deal seems close.

The owner of the McDonalds franchise along Carrier Circle had no comment when NewsChannel 9 reached out to her.

She did say she'd like to see the project move forward, but referred questions to corporate offices, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Hampshire Hospitality has been trying to redevelop the old Howard Johnson's site for about 12 years now.

Despite delays many times before, Town of Dewitt officials say they believe a deal is close this time, with hopes for work to begin later this year.

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