Brandon Holveck - Delaware Online
More than three years after the New Castle County Council approved a plan for a hotel near the entrance to Delaware Park, a second hotel operator is proposing a similar project.
According to plans filed with the county, Titan Hospitality Group of Harrisburg wants to build
a 133-room, four-story hotel at Churchmans and Ogletown Stanton roads across from the Churchmans Crossing train station and south of the casino and racetrack.
Titan bought the property for $3.3 million on Sept. 29, according to county records. The group acquired it from Blenheim Homes, a Newark-based homebuilder that received approval in May 2019 to build a Homewood Suites at the site.
The hotel would be Titan's first in Delaware. The group currently operates 15 hotels in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Connecticut. Its hotels operate under several brands from Marriott and Hilton and include multiple Fairfield Inn and Suites and Hampton Inn and Suites.
As it sought approval, beginning more than five years ago, Blenheim bought about 3 acres from Delaware Park. Its goal was to attract casino-goers, business travelers and ChristianaCare visitors and take advantage of what it viewed as an underserved market.
Blenheim anticipated completing construction by January 2021.
But building never began and the lot today looks mostly as it did in 2019 with the exception of a new Delaware Park sign installed in May at Churchmans and Ogletown Stanton roads.
Nick Gandhi, vice president of Blenheim Homes, declined to comment beyond sharing that Blenheim sold the property.
Blenheim's plan also called for a 133-room, four-story hotel. Its approved hotel was about 10,000 square feet larger than Titan's proposed hotel. Because Titan's plan is revising a previously approved plan, it is considered a minor resubdivision plan and does not require a county hearing.
The Rickman family sold Delaware Park last November for at least $90 million to a Canadian private equity firm and a newly formed subsidiary run by gaming investor Thomas Benninger. William Rickman Sr., a Maryland real estate developer, bought Delaware Park at age 63 in 1983 when the business was on the brink of extinction, facing stiff competition from neighboring racetracks.
Rickman revived the business by offering smaller purses, which attracted cheaper horses than in previous years. Business boomed and competition improved in 1996 when legislation passed to allow slot machines. Today, Delaware Park is one of three casinos and racetracks in the state.