HAZLET –A big change is coming to a local landmark.
In September, construction will begin to transform the Shore Point Motel into a bigger, two-story hotel to be called The Country Inn
The Country Inn has been designed by Cranbury-based architect Steven Radosti to exude a homey feel, with Colonial accents, wooden shutters and a wrap-around porch to distinguish it from nearby corporate-run hotels.
With nearly all the permits in hand, owner Nick Mariolis said his next step is to secure a loan and pick a contractor for the $1.7 to $2 million project at 3360 Route 35.
“A country-style family type of business, kind of like a takeoff of a bed-and-breakfast,” said the soft-spoken Mariolis, after the January meeting of the Hazlet Business Owners Association. His family has owned the Shore Point Motel since 1964, and he has been the manager for the past 20 years. “We try to run a quiet place.”
In testimony before the Hazlet Land Use Board in March and April, 2018, Mariolis said his aim is to attract families going to the beach, tourists and business people who need short stays.
He said the hours would be 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., and no food would be served.
The plan is to construct two new motel buildings in stages. The reason why it is not being done all at once is because Mariolis needs income from the existing hotel to pay for the first phase, and the income from both to pay for the subsequent phase, according to his attorney Jeffrey Gale, of Gale & Laughlin in Hazlet. Gale said there will be additional phasing in the future to remove the existing two and a half-story building next to the site, currently being used for storage.
Phase one on the project is the construction of a two-story 8,667-square foot building with 17 rooms. Seven rooms will be on the ground floor, and ten room on the second floor, accessible by an elevator.
The next phase will be the construction of another two story 5,886-square foot motel-style building, but with 14 units. It will face the phase one building and be directly accessible from the parking lot. Seven of the rooms will be on the first floor with a covered walkway, and seven rooms will be on the second floor with a balcony walkway.
The existing 19 units will remain for an overall total of 50 rooms.
The state Dept. of Transportation has approved the entrance and exit to the hotel, on Route 35, Mariolis said at the March 1 hearing. An easement exists for cars to enter adjacent to his brother’s restaurant next door, but few are expected to enter that way, he said.
Visitors to the hotel will be able to stop their cars under a covered portico to check in. Through the doors will be a lobby, a sitting area, offices, a maintenance area, a staff laundry area and restrooms.
At the April 19 meeting, Mariolis said he presently employs 4 employees, and will need to add one or two more.
At that same meeting, Land Use Board Vice Chairman Chris Cavanaugh questioned Mariolis if he accepts guests in any state or governmental housing programs, and Mariolis said he does not.
Rich Dorsi, who lives nearby on Bedle Road, submitted a history of police incidents and crimes to the Land Use Board involving the Shore Point Motel, and expressed concern that there with more rooms, there would be more security threats to the neighborhood. Mariolis said he will have security cameras.
Currently, his main customers are tradespeople who are working jobs in the area, travelers who are coming off the Parkway looking for a night’s stay, and people visiting family in the area, he said. The nightly rate is $68, and the maximum stay is four weeks.
With the Country Inn, he is hoping to be able to raise that rate to $88 a night.
The site plan was approved by the Land Use Board at the April meeting.
In September, Mariolis sold a 1.1 acre parcel of land on Holmdel Road to the Buhler car dealership for $600,000.