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Beauport shaping up

GLOUCESTER — The shape — and size — of things to come on Gloucester’s Pavilion Beach is now on display.

A whirlwind of construction in recent weeks has given residents a look at the full size and shape of the new Beauport Hotel Gloucester, with as many as 90 workers carrying out a variety of tasks at the Commercial Street site each day.

“It has pretty much taken shape at this point,” said Lee Dellicker, president and CEO of Windover Construction, the overall contractor on the development, projected to cost $20 million to $25 million.

Dellicker said Monday that he expects the building’s full exterior frame to be completed by the end of August. The structure should be water-tight by fall, he added, setting the stage for work on the hotel’s interior.

All of that means the project is on track for the June 2016 opening that was projected even prior to the hotel’s groundbreaking ceremonies last November, he said.

Weddings already booked

To that end, Cruiseport Gloucester proprietor Sheree Zizik — who’s developing the project in tandem with New Balance owner Jim Davis, a seasonal Gloucester resident — said her team has already booked 19 weddings for the new hotel for next July, August and September, with others “on hold” pending the hotel’s earlier availability. Zizik said her sales team has been keeping in touch with Windover as the project goes forward.

“We haven’t really even started marketing it yet,” Zizik said, noting that the bookings include the ballroom and function rooms, as well as blocks of hotel rooms.

“I’m very excited about the hotel; I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “I think it’s going to fit right in with the Fort (neighborhood). I think that, once the siding’s up, it’s going to look just grand. It’s a beautiful addition for the city.”

Locals working project

Monday, crews continued extensive work on the project, from its virtual head to toe. While carpenters continued to build the frame on the rim of the top floors, for example, brothers Josh and John Provost and Jerry Hawkins, all of Hudson, N.H.-based New England Waterproofing, a subcontractor, worked to install waterproof insulation in a first-level entryway off what will be the parking garage.

Windover superintendent David Gatti, who’s heading up worksite operations, noted that six subcontractors were at work on the property, including Gloucester-based Roy Spittle Electrical Associates. Timberline Enterprises, also of Gloucester, has had up to 50 workers on scene by itself, Gatti said.

What’s on view

As passers-by view the building in its current form, the first floor will be the parking area and an entryway that will lead up to the main level.

The main level — including the reception desk, main lobby, main ballroom and two smaller functions, one of which can be split off into a third — will be on what appears as the second floor, Dellicker said. The bulk of the hotel rooms will be on the upper floors, with a loose replica of the old Birds Eye tower housing the elevators, which were among the first structures built.

The hotel, once pegged to 102 rooms in initial plans after the project gained city approvals for the former Birds Eye industrial site in 2012 and 2013, is now set to include 96, Dellicker said, noting that “we combined a few rooms into suites.”

Zizik is projecting the hotel will add more than 250 full- and part-time jobs to the local economy, given the facility’s 24-hour operations.

Design changes

Some design changes from the initial proposal also came when the developers responded to two legal challenges — one from a group called the Community Port Alliance, the other from the Mortillaro’s Lobster Co., which continued to carry out its own business operations Monday across the street.

Owner Vince Mortillaro conceded Monday that the hotel project had been “a little bit” disruptive for his company — “but they’ve worked with us,” he said of the developers and contractors.

Mortillaro said the project’s scope is no surprise as it has gone forward.

“I saw all the plans,” he said, “and remember they changed a lot of things around for us (through the December 2013 settlement of the legal challenge). It will be nice to get everything done, though, so we don’t have to keep washing our trucks twice a week.”

Fort improvements

Gloucester Public Works Director Mike Hale said Monday that work is also on track for a spring completion of the city’s own $6 million-plus infrastructure project, which has drawn state and local funding and a $2 million overall contribution from Zizik and Davis as Beauport Gloucester LLC.

“A lot of that work has been occurring on the second and into the third shifts — late afternoon to 1 a.m.,” Hale noted. “But the majority of the infrastructure work is completed.

Remaining tasks on that project — designed to improve water and sewer utilities not just for the hotel, but for homes and businesses throughout the historic Fort neighborhood — city officials have often said — including some water drainage work, adding a smooth road surface and then, come spring, laying down and lining the final roadway, Hale said.

“Everything’s on schedule, if not a little bit ahead of schedule,” Hale said. “It’s been a challenge. There’s been some disruption of water service, a disruption of road access. But we’re almost there.”

Business draw

The enthusiasm for being “almost there” is shared among other city officials, notably Economic Development Director Sal Di Stefano, who talked Monday of what the completed, 96-room hotel will mean for the city and its economy.

“Just the impact from adding space for business meetings and small conferences will have a positive effect,” Di Stefano said. “I know event planners have been looking in our area for venues like this. I even heard from the (North American) Seafood Expo in Boston that folks were seeking hotel rooms (this past March), hoping it was already built. But it wasn’t.

“This will help us so much in recruiting businesses here,” he added, “Plus the hotel tax revenue is a positive for the city.”

Dellicker, meanwhile, said he is “very, very proud of the design” for the hotel.

“I think it’s going to fit on that site very nicely and be an incredible landmark for the city of Gloucester,” he said, and Zizik agreed.

“It’s going to give businesses in the city the ability to bring consultants and other people right in to our city, it’s going to create a lot of jobs, and it will be good for tourism,” she said. “It’s going to be good for the community, and I’m so excited now to see it take shape.”

Eagle Tribune – North of Boston 8.11.15

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