After nearly three years of construction and delays, Homewood Suites of Hilton Carlisle opened with a bang.
The hotel, located at the former Masland/IAC site along Carlisle Springs Road, opened its doors June 1, just in time for the Carlisle Ford Nationals show, making for what Carlisle Events Public Relations Manager Michael Garland called “a rather big first weekend. “
The Sentinel reported in 2019 that the hotel was to house 95 rooms and feature apartment-style living complete with full kitchens and separate living spaces. Other amenities include an indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center and free Wi-Fi.
Changes to the nearly 50-acre lot purchased by Carlisle Events following the 2008 closure of the former IAC/Masland automotive carpet factory have been a long process, Garland said.
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“It wasn’t simply one building comes down and others go up,” he said. “Over the years we’ve worked with demolition companies, companies that specialize in demolition clean up, engineering firms and countless other entities to help in the upcoming transition from a manufacturing brownfield to a commercial and residential lot. This includes reconstruction and development of the street grid, implementation of water, sewer, electricity, etc.”
Carlisle Events purchased the facility in late 2010, Garland said, and crews broke ground for the hotel in June 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic set the project’s completion, originally estimated to be in 2020, back about two years, although Garland said the process is “gaining traction once more.”
This traction is evident through the anticipated opening of a restaurant on the former Masland/IAC site sometime next spring. Alfredo Iannuzzi, the owner of Marcello’s Ristorante on Cavalry Road, plans to open a restaurant called Pompeii at the site.
Iannuzzi said Pompeii would be more “upscale” than Marcello’s and would offer steaks, seafood, Italian baked specialty dishes and brick oven pizzas. He has gained approval from the Carlisle Borough Council in February 2021 to apply for an economic development liquor license for the restaurant as well, and said this process is in the final phase. Iannuzzi anticipates that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will give its final yes or no on the license in the next couple of months.
The license would allow Pompeii to sell wine, beer and mixed drinks, he said.
“It will mean my dream comes true because I’ve been doing this over 20-some years in this community and it will finally give us a place in Carlisle that you can get a couple of fancy drinks and an upscale dinner and really traditional Italian foods,” Iannuzzi said. “I’ve been traveling a lot lately to Italy and all over the world, and I can tell you that my food is second to none, and Pompeii is going to be top class.”
He said construction on Pompeii will likely begin this fall.
In addition to the hotel and restaurant, the lot will include residences. Garland said these include “a mix of town homes and apartments.” He said about 50 town house units are being built over two sections of land, with construction “well underway” beside the hotel. This construction is expected to be completed and the residences occupied by 2024.
Additional land on the site will continue to offer space for car show parking, as it has in years past, Garland said.
“When Carlisle Events purchased the facility in late 2010 it was done so to protect the parking options our guests have been using during years prior,” he said. “The development that … has been taking place is happening where the factory was formerly located, so parking has remained virtually untouched.”
Aside from parking, one of the concerns associated with the site was the loss of 350 jobs with the factory’s closure, although Garland said new opportunities for work have opened at the site since then.
“It’s been at least 12 years since IAC closed,” I said. “While its closure would have had a negative impact employment-wise at the time, in the years since, the project has accounted for hundreds of construction related jobs, including 100-150 specific to the hotel, apartments and town homes that are being built .”
Garland said that aside from the hotel, the residences, the restaurant and space for parking, no other uses of the lot have been announced.
“It’s great to finally see the project moving forward as envisioned so many years ago,” he said. “Between COVID and supply chain delays, there have been some hurdles, but everything seems to finally be moving forward in a manner that offers excitement to all involved. The north side of Carlisle is evolving and we’re excited to be part of that process.”
Photos: Homewood Suites by Hilton Groundbreaking
Homewood Suites Hotel 1
Homewood Suites Hotel 2
Homewood Suites Hotel 3
Maddie Seiler is a news reporter for The Sentinel and cumberlink.com covering Carlisle and Newville. You can contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at: @SeilerMadalyn