Asian-themed hotel proposed in Manchester awaits Act 250
By Patrick McArdle
MANCHESTER — About a year after the project got its local permits, the local Act 250 commissioners announced they would host a hearing Sept. 25 on a proposed 80-room hotel with an Asian theme that would be located off of Route 7A.
The project has been described by the applicants, Alpaslan Basdogan and Vermont Turquoise Hospitality, LLC, as a 74,000-square-foot building with a 160-seat restaurant and a spa on about 44 acres of land across the street from Manchester's town offices.
Basdogan owns international wholesale company Asia Minor Carpets, which has its corporate office in Manchester. On Thursday, he referred questions about the application to project manager, Richard Jones.
Jones said he and Basdogan are optimistic the state will approve the proposal.
“Otherwise, we wouldn't have spent 90-odd thousand dollars on it up to this point,” he said.
At this point, Jones said the applicant wanted to continue with the process in hopes of getting Act 250 approval and then “see what develops.”
The Manchester Development Review Board approved the proposal in August 2012 but the permit issued by the town was appealed a short time later by Carol duPont, of Manchester.
In her appeal, duPont said the town should not have issued a permit because the hotel “is not 'in accord with the policies, purposes or terms of the (town) plan or bylaws of (Manchester).'”
On Thursday, duPont said she didn't want to comment on the Act 250 hearing except to say she was looking forward to attending to find out if there were any changes to the proposal since it had come before the town.
The appeal is still pending before the Vermont Environmental Court. A clerk at the court said Thursday the appeal would not be heard until the Act 250 process is complete.
It's a common practice in Vermont for the Environmental Court to wait until both local and state permits are issued so any appeals can be consolidated and heard at the same time.
Jones said he knew the proposed hotel had a lot of supporters in Manchester but said he also knew that there were a lot of local people who wanted to at least have a say in the project. He said the applicant was committed to the project.
“We know that appeals scare some people off. I assure you, we're not scared off. We're eager to move forward with this project,” he said.
In a plan Basdogan submitted to the town, he said the hotel was specifically designed to offer an experience that is common to hotels in Europe and the Mediterranean. By bringing that kind of hotel to the town and Vermont, Basdogan said he hopes to attract Europeans and other new visitors to Manchester.
If approved, the hotel would be built on what is now a largely empty parcel of land known locally as the former Hosley farm.
Other features proposed for the hotel include an outdoor pool and an organic farm on-site, which would grow food used by the restaurant.
The Act 250 commissioners will visit the site at 9 a.m. on Sept. 25. The hearing will begin, at 9:30 a.m. at Manchester's town offices.