September 16 - 23, 1998

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155 Room Hotel Proposed for North Meadows

by Andy Hart

Two Hartford businessmen are vying for the right to develop a 1.4 acre parcel of city-owned land at 106 Leibert Road.

Manny Leibert, owner of The Leibert Corporation on Jennings Road, said developers have approached him with a plan to combine the city-owned parcel with an adjacent property, owned by the Leibert Family, in order to build a 155-room hotel and conference facility.

Tony March of Tony March Buick-GMC, Inc. wants to use the parcel to expand his rapidly growing automobile dealership, which is located across the street from the city-owned property.

The Hartford Redevelopment Agency will review both proposals at its regular monthly meeting this Thursday, September 17.

On Tuesday, Leibert said that the hotel proposal is still in the planning stages but added that, "yes, there is a fair chance that a $20 million hotel could be built here at the corner of Jennings and Leibert Roads."

He said the developers of the project, the J.T. Murray Development Company of Plants- ville, CT, have told him that they like the site's location, particularly its direct access to and from I-91, and are also excited about the overall redevelopment surge in Hartford, including Adriaen's Landing.

According to the proposal Leibert submitted to the Redevelopment Agency in August, the hotel being planned will include a 14,265 square foot conference center, a full-service 160-seat restaurant, lounge and hotel bar, a fitness center, indoor pool, tennis courts and a putting green.

When completed, the facility will employ approximately 140 full and part-time employees, Leibert said. According to the proposal, financing for construction of the hotel has been obtained from a Connecticut based lending institution and, if all goes according to plan, the facility could be completed as early as the summer of 2000.

March is the principal of Crystal Motors, LLC, the official proposed developer of the property at 106 Leibert Road. In his proposal, March said he plans to use the property to expand his service, parts and used car operations and to provide additional employee parking.
The proposal also calls for the construction of a 4,200 square foot building and the hiring of six new employees.

March recently acquired a Mazda and Mitsubishi dealership and is constructing two new facilities. One will be 17,500 square feet and the other 4,200 square feet, and they will be housed at 105 and 149 Leibert Road. According to the proposal, new employee parking places are "desperately" needed if March is to continue expanding and hiring new employees. Currently there is no public or on-street parking near the March dealership.

When Tony March Buick, Inc. first opened in the North Meadows in 1992, the proposal states, it employed about 30 people but now has over 60 employees and this number could rise to approximately 125 employees once the overall expansion is completed.

March's proposal lists a total cost of $500,000 for the development at 106 Leibert Road and, if the proposal is accepted by the Redevelopment Agency, the project could be completed as soon as February of next year.

March declined to comment about his proposal until after Thursday night's meeting.

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