The Rev. Dr. Laurie Thompson had an idea to bring a hotel to Ambridge that would service Trinity School for Ministry and the greater community at large. Now, he's working to make the idea a reality.
Cobblestone Hotels, based in Wayne, Nebraska, would build a 31-bedroom hotel on a 1.9-acre plot of land off 11th Street, between the Trinity campus and Bottom Dollar. Trinity purchased the old brownfield property and would sell it to the hotel, Thompson said.
Thompson said a feasibility study has been performed that shows this area could benefit from more lodging. BriMark Builders, the developer partnered with Cobblestone, is also interested in the building project.
Cobblestone has built three other Pennsylvania hotels in the last year—Punxsutawney,Waynesboro and Corry locations—and specializes in developing hotels in small population environments.
“It’s a well-run operation and they understand small communities. I think they are a perfect fit for Ambridge and I’m excited about it.”
Thompson said the modest hotel wouldn’t have a swimming pool or restaurants, accommodations that some larger hotels have. But there would be an exercise room and other amenities, he said.
“Frankly, we didn’t want to take business away from the local businesses. It would be very basic,” he said.
Thompson said he came up with the idea because the seminary has experienced a strong demand for accommodations.
The nearest hotels are in other counties, namely Moon Township in Allegheny County or Cranberry Township in Butler County. The closest hotel accommodations in Beaver County are on the other side of the river in Center Township.
“We’ve had a desperate need for short-term housing at the seminary,” Thompson said.“All that business is going over to Moon.”
Currently, the seminary recommends hotels in Moon, either the Sheraton or Hilton, whichever will negotiate a better rate for the school, the feasibility study says. The study indicates a strong need for lodging that can handle about 750 minimum guests per year.
Thompson said the full hotel would be open to anyone, such as vacationers or out-of-town wedding guests.
At this point, though, none of the plans are final. Thompson said the seminary is working to enlist some investors to back the project.
"We've still got to get the finances in place," he said.
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