Watertown will be getting a six-story hotel on Arsenal Street after the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the project Wednesday night.
The 148-room hotel will be a Residence Inn by Marriott, said Bill McQuillan, the principal of developer Boylston Properties. Rooms in the hotel, which is aimed at business travelers, will cost about $175 a night, but prices fluctuate higher or lower depending on demand, McQuillan said.
A number of Town Councilors applauded the project.
“Some of us, including myself, have been anxiously looking to bring a hotel to the Watertown community for the number of benefits it could bring,” said Town Council President Mark Sideris. “This is a well thought out project. It is exactly what the town has been looking for.”
Councilor Angeline Kounelis, who represents the East End of town, said she has not heard any complaints from residents living near the hotel. She added, however, that she is worried about the difficulty that people might have turning left out of Elm Street onto Arsenal Street, and from Arsenal left onto Elm.
Traffic is one of the concerns, especially with other developments likely coming soon to Arsenal Street. Developers will do a traffic study 12 months after the hotel opens. ZBA Chairwoman Melissa Santucci said she wants the numbers presented along side the projected number presented by developers to the ZBA.
“We have a lot of things coming on line at the same time in this corridor and we just want to make sure that people are doing what they said they will do,” Santucci said.
The hotel could add up to 1,400 trips a week, according to the traffic study done by developers. McQuillan said he expects the number to be significantly lower.
McQuillan promised that Boylston Properties would not only contribute to a local shuttle for the public that would operate in the Arsenal Street area, but also have a shuttle for guests to places like Harvard Square.
Resident Dennis Duff said he worries that the long main facade will create a “canyon-izing” effect, especially with the even longer Home Depot building across Arsenal Street.
Some ZBA members said they did not like the long stretch on the street that has no windows and will be covered by just one color of building material. McQuillan agreed to position a planter on the sidewalk so it breaks up the homogeneous look of the wall.
ZBA members also did not want to see chain-link fence to be used around the property. McQuillan said he does not want to use chain link because it does not fit in with the look of the hotel.
The hotel will have a number of amenities, such as a pool, a roof-top patio with a bar, another bar downstairs and a meeting room. Some items will not be available to the public, but the ground floor bar and the meeting room will be. McQuillan said the meeting room will not be available at all times, but some times will be set aside for the public to use.
Santucci said she was concerned that the hotel would be used in the state’s program to house homeless families. McQuillan said he would agree as a condition for approval of the project that he would not allow the hotel to be part of the program.