CONWAY — The Conway Planning Board is to resume full site-plan review at its meeting at the Marshall Gym Thursday evening on a plan to demolish the closed Junge’s Motel tdo construct a 22,808-square foot, three-story, 114-room hotel, a 5,800-square foot restaurant space and a 2,500-square foot building for a bank.
The site totals about 5.1 acres and is located just south of Pizza Hut and abuts Route 16 to the east and the tracks of the Conway Scenic Railroad to the west at 1858 White Mountain Highway.
Early site-plan review by the planning board began in March 2019, according to Josh McAllister of HEB Engineers.
“The plan remains essentially the same,” said McAllister Tuesday. “We have received several of our necessary state approvals and will be requesting several wavers from the planning board Thursday night.”
According to local Realtor Bayard Kennett of REMAX Presidential of North Conway, the 5.1-acre site is comprised of two lots of about equal size. It has a sloped gradient leading down to the railroad tracks in back.
The 1950s vintage motel and all amenities sit on one parcel while the other lot is undeveloped.
Kennett, in a January 2019 interview, told the Sun the closing was split into two segments by mutual agreement of the parties involved, with the motel parcel closing in mid-December 2018 and the land sale closing in late January 2019.
Said to be one of the oldest motels in North Conway at the time of its closing, Junge's was owned by the Junge family.
According to Janet M. Hounsell’s book, “Conway, New Hampshire, 1765-1997,” Ralph Junge’s parents, Catherine and Hans Junge, began their business in 1950 with seven units. At its closing, it featured 28 units located on 35 acres.
According to town hall tax records, the motel property is now owned by five different owners, with a tax mailing address of 20Ten Investments, LLC, 65 Balancing Rock Road, Canton, Mass.
Records show that 20Ten Investments owns 10 percent; Rushill Conway LLC owns 15 percent; DVS Family LLC owns 27.5 percent; 1858 Conway LLC owns 45 percent, and RA 1858 LLC owns 2.5 percent.
According to Earl Wason of Wason Hospitality Associates of Portsmouth, Jamsan Management Hotel Group – the Massachusetts-based hotel company that is also developing an 80-room, four-story, 2,000-square foot Home2Suites and restaurant at the 2.51-acre former Fandangle’s Restaurant site near the juncture of Routes 302 and 16 – is involved with the Junge’s project along with other partners.
Asked why there had been a delay since March 2019, Wason said the buyers had been negotiating for a Fairfield brand that was ultimately obtained by Richard Lafrance of Lafrance Hospitality Associates of Westport, Mass., operator of the Residence Inn by Marriott of North Conway and soon to be operator of a recently Conway Planning Board-approved four-story, 90-room hotel to be operated as a Fairfield and to be built within the footprint of the former Cranmore Fitness Center. The fitness center is to be demolished next spring with the hotel to be built and opened in June 2022, according to Cranmore General Manager and President Ben Wilcox.
Fairfield is a brand owned by Marriott.
Ashok Patel of Jamsan is also involved with the ownership group at the Fox Ridge Resort in North Conway. Patel told The Conway Daily Sun in a January 2019 interview his company bought the 136-room, 31-acre resort from Red Jacket Resorts of Yarmouth, Mass. and undertook renovations to transform it into a year-round resort.
Wason said the pandemic has had an impact on hotel projects nationwide.
“What I am hearing from associates in the hospitality industry across the country is that if you’re already under construction, keep going – but otherwise get your approvals and see what happens,” said Wason, whose firm is currently closing on four hospitality properties in Vermont and Maine, and recently conducted the sale by longtime owners Charlie and Becky Mallar of the 1785 Inn in North Conway to Richard Kudrick of Conway, to be run under the short-term rental model for large groups.
Asked if the North Conway market is being saturated with lodging properties, Wason said he believes the demand will continue to be strong, once the country solves the coronavirus pandemic health and economic crisis.
“I think once we get past this it will definitely be strong. I remember when I first came to North Conway in December 1969, there was nothing going on, yet look at all of the projects in the paper every time I read it. It’s exciting. But I know that a lot of small businesses are being hurt badly right now and there will be some changes,” said Wason, who is operating out of a virtual office at his home in Meredith during the pandemic.
Also on the hospitality horizon is a 40-room guest room and 3,000-square-foot ballroom addition at the White Mountain Hotel and Resort that due to the economic impact on financing of hospitality projects wrought by the pandemic has been pushed back by hoteliers Carol and Dennis Sullivan a year for the start of construction to spring 2021 with a June 2022 completion.
Other hospitality projects include a 69-luxury room and suites addition at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods that broke ground in September 2019.
The North Conway Grand Hotel at Settlers Green is proposing a three-story, 33-room addition; a 10,260 square foot enclosed pool addition; and to construct a 2,560 square foot lobby addition and new porte cochere with associated infrastructure at 72 Common Court in North Conway
In other business, the Conway Planning Board is act on a request from Chuck Henderson to convert 1,400 square feet of light industrial space to office space at his former Chuck Roast Equipment facility at 90 Odell Hill Road, Center Conway.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. inside the gym, located inside the Conway Parks and Recreation Department inside Kennett Middle School.