By: Beth LaMontagne Hall, New Hampshire Business Review
If you haven’t been to downtown Portsmouth in a decade or more, you might notice the waterfront city has a different look these days — taller buildings, new high-end shops and more choices if you want to spend the night.
A development boom that includes a number of large hotel projects has changed the face of downtown and promises further expansion into what were once sleepy commercial and residential areas. While the city has enjoyed the tourism revenue and tax dollars the projects have brought to Portsmouth, residents’ concerns over the amount of new development have grown louder, with many wondering how many more hotels Portsmouth needs and what the locals are getting out of the deal.
Portsmouth has 21 hotels currently in operation, including three inns/bed and breakfasts, and four more approved hotel projects either under construction or yet to begin construction. For decades, visitors to Portsmouth had only a few choices if they wanted to stay downtown near the city’s working waterfront, but since 2006, a new hotel has opened in Portsmouth’s downtown every four years, adding nearly 500 new hotel rooms during that time, according to Lodging Econometrics, a Portsmouth-based company that analyzes hotel markets around the world.
No new hotel was completed in 2018, but a hotel project is set to open in 2019 with 143 new rooms. In all, that’s roughly 650 new hotel rooms in a little more than a decade, all within the city’s downtown.
“The waterfront community is always attractive. There are fantastic restaurants, quaint unique shops, a very rich history in Portsmouth, a lot of cultural events throughout the year and you have a city that is very walkable,” said Patrick “J.P.” Ford, senior vice president and director of business development at Lodging Econometrics. “When you put all of those attractive qualities in a community, you are going to end up with a lot of people who want to come to Portsmouth for the day, a weekend or a long weekend and take in all the city has to offer.”
It’s not just Portsmouth’s pretty waterfront and multitude of amenities that make the city an attractive hotel market. It’s also benefited from general economic growth in the Seacoast region, especially at Pease International Tradeport, said David Choate, executive vice president of Colliers International in Portsmouth, who has 30 years of experience in the commercial real estate business.
“A lot of people doing business on Pease want to stay downtown,” said Choate. “The chamber has also done a great job promoting the downtown and people are hwww.nhbr.com/June-8-2018/Make-way-for-hotels/aving their weddings and small meetings there.”
The number of hotels and robust business indicate the Portsmouth market was previously being underserved, he said.
Read the complete article on nhbr.com.