The Stamford developer responsible for boutique hotel Zero Degrees, is bringing a second small hotel to the area, this time on Norwalk's Main Avenue.
Hotel Zero Degrees Norwalk, opening in the spring, will have 96 rooms and RMS Cos. has brought in Ramze Zakka to open Mediterraneo restaurant. Zakka's other eateries include Terra and Mediterraneo in Greenwich, Sole in New Canaan, Aqua in Westport and Aurora in Rye, N.Y.
"We spent a great deal of time searching the region for the ideal restaurateur who shares our same vision and focus," said Randy Salvatore, founder and owner of RMS. "Ramze's five existing restaurants have become the social and entertainment centers in each of their respective communities and it is our expectation that this newest offering will bring the same vitality to our Norwalk hotel."
Estimating construction costs at $12 million to $15 million, Salvatore said the hotel, south of the Merritt 7 office complex, will have three meeting rooms, a rooftop terrace and employ about 65 people including the restaurant staff. Room rates at the Zero Degrees, designed by Beinfield Architecture of Norwalk, will compete with area rates.
With seating for 120, the restaurant faces a waterfall overlooking the Norwalk River.
"It's amazing what you can see from there," Zakka said. "It's really exciting. This hotel and restaurant will contribute to an up-and-coming area."
Salvatore said the Stamford hotel, which opened in 2010, found a niche in the region's accommodations market, and the Norwalk hotel will follow suit.
"There is a significant corporate need here," he said.
Hotels that cater to the corporate market have seen an uptick in patronage since the recession, she said, but overall occupancy rates to date are at 59.4 percent in the Stamford-Danbury corridor, compared with 60.5 percent for the same period last year. Room rates, however, have increased by 3.2 percent during the same time period.
"Independent boutique hotels are doing well in some markets, but there has to be a demand generator in those markets to fill those rooms," Kozlowski said.