The Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority is moving forward with plans to locate a 125-room hotel on its property off Airport Road.
The authority voted to sign a term sheet with developer HP&D to build and manage a Marriot Courtyard on airport property.
Tom Stoudt, executive director of the LNAA, said the authority has been considering building its own hotel for a couple of decades, but became more serious about the plan after its 2019 master plan study showed a significant need for more hotel rooms in the area immediately surrounding the airport.
“The study was pretty clear that there were not enough hotel rooms along the corridor,” Stoudt said. “Sometimes we have trouble finding enough rooms for snow removal crews.”
He said the airlines that serve the airport also sometimes have difficulty finding rooms for staff that need to stay overnight.
While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the plan, Stoudt said last year the airport authority becan working with the developer to put together a hotel plan that would be beneficial both for the airport and the community.
“The developer did its own independent analysis, and everyone came to the same conclusion. This is needed,” Stoudt said.
With the latest approval, HP&D can now begin work on obtaining approvals from the township, Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
Meanwhile, the airport authority will work on plans to approve a 40-year long-term lease for the land on which the hotel will be constructed and set an expected $3-per hotel night hotel privilege fee, which will go towards the airport’s revenue.
The hotel itself will be owned and operated by the developer.
With approvals in place construction should begin in spring of 2024 with operations beginning by late 2025.