Developer proposes two new North Franklin hotels

Marcellus Shale boom fuels construction

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A developer is proposing to build two hotels in North Franklin Township at a time when the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry has spurred millions of dollars in capital investment in Washington County.


David Metzner of United Washington Associates is seeking zoning variances to build the two five-story hotels along Trich Drive in response to predictions the Marcellus Shale boom will continue to drive economic growth in the region for at least 20 more years.


“The big hotel chains don’t make mistakes,” said Metzner, who also attracted the Comfort Inn & Suites and 16 other businesses to the development that also is home to Consol Energy Park.


“They see continued growth here, and that says a lot for the region,” Metzner said Monday.


He said he is working with two or three national hotel chains that expressed an interest in the area. He said he would reveal the hotel owners after his plans are approved by the township zoning hearing board, planning commission and supervisors.


The announcement of the proposed hotels followed another one last week by Washington County commissioners that energy production resulted in nearly $1.1 billion in capital investment last year in the county. As a result, Washington County is leading the Greater Pittsburgh region in terms of economic development and job creation.


The county is home to 2,151 hotel rooms, and developers have announced plans for construction of four additional hotels in other parts of the area.


Leo Trich, a member of the North Franklin Township Recreation and Business Improvement Authority, said that in addition to the proposed hotel sites, there is only one lot remaining in the North Franklin development. A new physicians office is expected to be built on another site there this year.


Metzner is seeking zoning variances in North Franklin in regard to parking and sidewalk location issues. He also wants permission to construct two buildings that would be 55 feet tall in areas where the zoning limits buildings to 35 feet.


The township zoning hearing board will hold a public hearing on the request at 6:30 p.m. March 12 in the township building, 620 Franklin Farms Road.


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