By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
BENTON TOWNSHIP — Benton Township could get its third hotel along Cinema Way.
Land near the new Marriott Spring Hill Suites Hotel – across from the Hilton Garden Inn – is being cleared of trees and brush this week.
Township Building Inspector Tom Baldwin said the land is being cleared to make room for another hotel from the developer of the Marriott. Site plans were sent to the township’s building department a month ago, Baldwin said.
Hotel developer Sam Sandia said he wants to build a Staybridge Suites next to his other hotel, the Marriott.
“No, it wasn’t my intention,” said Sandia, when asked if two hotels had been the plan all along. “I decided to put in another one.”
The new hotel’s height is similar to that of the four-story Marriott, which would require a height variance. Baldwin said the plan is to schedule public hearings for the height variance with the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission in the same day.
The hearings would be the second Monday in May.
A height variance is needed because the land is zoned D-1 commercial. The zoning ordinance states a structure’s maximum height in D-1 is 40 feet. In addition to the height variance, Baldwin said the site plans need approval from the Planning Commission.
“I heard about it probably a month or so ago. We got the site plans in and called a hearing,” Baldwin said. “…Yeah, they are clearing the trees, but there will be no other activity until the site plans are approved.”
According to site plans, the Staybridge Suites would be next to the Marriott Hotel with about 80 feet of separation. The new hotel also calls for four stories and 88 rooms, Baldwin said.
Sandia said he doesn’t have more plans for another hotel in the near future, but added that “things change every day.”
“I’ve been in the neighborhood for 20 years,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “I believe the area is in need of more inventory.”
If the Staybridge Suites is approved by township trustees, the Cinema Way corridor near Nickerson Avenue could have three hotels, totalling 268 rooms, in a small radius near Benton Township’s I-94 exit.
Work on the Marriott Hotel began Dec. 8, nearly a week after the $8.5 million project received final approval from the Board of Trustees.
Harbor Hotel Investments, based in Farmington Hills, is the developer of both hotels. The Marriott is at 1255 Cinema Way and will cover about 62,700 square feet and be four stories high with 92 rooms.
The Marriott’s expected date of completion is set for the summer of 2016. There is no timeline set for the Staybridge Suites.