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New Courtyard by Marriott hotel opens Friday in Derry Township

Developer Shaner Hotel Group remains busy in the midstate with new hotels at HIA, off I-81 in Cumberland County

Shaner Hotel Group is opening a 120-room Courtyard by Marriott Hershey Chocolate Avenue, a project that broke ground last May in Derry Township. - (Photo / Submitted)

A State College hospitality company will open its newest midstate hotel on Friday, while preparing to break ground on a hotel a few miles away and finalizing the design on another Harrisburg-area project.

Shaner Hotel Group is opening a 120-room Courtyard by Marriott Hershey Chocolate Avenue, a project that broke ground last May in Derry Township. It will be the company’s 53rd hotel.

Company President Plato Ghinos also said it could be one of the company’s last hotels in the Harrisburg area after about a decade of growth for Shaner in the region.

There is still some work to do, however.

Shaner is expected to break ground in June on a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott at Harrisburg International Airport. The company also has a Fairfield project in the design stage and slated for a site off the Interstate 81 and Route 114 corridor in Silver Spring Township.

“That might be the last corridor we view as an opportunity to have a hospitality product,” Ghinos said.

However, he chased that with “never say never.”

The Fairfield project is in the Delta Pointe business park off the interstate. Shaner has plans to add a second hotel on the site, though no timetable has been established for that project.

Ghinos is still bullish about the midstate market. But the company is selective about the markets where it chooses to develop new select-service hotels and the amount of exposure it has in any one market, he said.

Select-service hotels generally offer some full-service amenities like breakfast and a fitness center, but do not have restaurants or other dedicated food-and-beverage options.

Previous developments


When Shaner began the Derry Township Courtyard last spring in a joint partnership with Chafia Capital Partners, a New Jersey-based real estate investment and private equity firm, the company was still fresh off opening a Courtyard by Marriott near Shippensburg University in 2015. The company also announced the HIA plans in 2015.

After starting on the Chocolate Avenue project, Shaner unveiled its plans for the Silver Spring Township business park in the fall of 2016.

The company’s first midstate hotel was a Courtyard by Marriott in Lower Allen Township, built about 10 years ago.

“We took a risk, but it was a positive risk,” Ghinos said. “It has performed well. The surrounding area has seen growth.”

The Hershey market was one Shaner had been chasing for years. But it’s a tough market to enter because there are a lot of hotels operating near Hersheypark, and Hershey entities control much of the land in Derry Township.

The company eventually settled on a site for the Courtyard site at 515 E. Chocolate Ave., which is close to downtown Hershey.

“We found a needle in a haystack,” Ghinos said.

The four-story hotel is adjacent to the Hershey Country Club and close to many of the area’s top attractions. But Shaner has positioned the property to accommodate both business and leisure travelers.

The new Courtyard has a full-service business center. The business lobby includes the C-Bar, which serves breakfast, coffee and cocktails, as well as flexible seating options ranging from a communal table in the middle of the room to more private media booths with high-definition TVs and a semi-enclosed lounge area.

The developers also wanted the property to match the historic downtown architecture in Hershey so they used brick and limestone for the exterior of the hotel.

East Lampeter Township-based High Construction Co. handled the construction of the Courtyard. High also will build the hotel at HIA, Ghinos said.

Shaner expects to open four more Marriott hotels this year in Florida and Ohio, Ghinos said. Five openings are slated for 2018.

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