Heritage Inn former General Manager with Keanu Reeves
Lola Belsito celebrating her birthday with Alan Arkin and staff from the Heritage Inn of Litchfield County
On Monday May 5th., 2008, movie stars Alan Arkin, Keanu Reeves, Wynona Ryder and Robin Wright Penn stayed at the hotel while shooting a scene for their upcoming movie next to the hotel at 30 Bridge Street.
From 7am until 9pm cast and crew had their headquarters at the Inn. The actors were generous enough to provide autographs and photos to the staff of the Inn. Rebecca Miller frequented the hotel to discuss scenes with the actors.
By: Nancy Barnes
To satisfy a burgeoning business climate, Brookfield-based Sproviero Asset Management is reopening its Heritage Inn in downtown New Milford in June, and it also plans to offer refurbished rooms in the former Twin Tree Inn, which will operate as the Newbury Inn, later this month.
The historic Heritage Inn, constructed in the 1830 as a tobacco warehouse, closed its doors in 2005. That left the bed-and-breakfast style Homestead Inn and three motels on Route 7 north of Veterans Bridge as the primary accommodations in town.
"I think you have to look at the different businesses that are looking into New Milford," said Lou Sproviero, the firm's president, on Monday. "We've had discussions with MEDInstill [Medical Installation Technologies Inc.] and Kimberly-Clark. We feel there is going to be some growth in the area from a corporate standpoint."
The decision by MEDInstill earlier this year to stay in New Milford, following its 2005 partnering with Nestlé, has been roundly applauded by New Milford officials and citizens because the company, which specializes in asceptic technologies-or items that can revolutionize the way medicines and other things are delivered around the world-has the potential to create thousands of jobs.
The Dallas, Tex.- based paper giant Kimberly-Clark has had a mill in the town for 50 years. To date, it has remained unaffected by a decision in Dallas to close or streamline 20 of its facilities, and it received the corporate go-ahead to proceed with a $50 million electricity and power cogeneration scheme to stabilize its utility costs last month.
"When we brought MEDInstill in, they were just so happy to see the facility," Mr. Sproviero said of a New Milford structure that holds a place on the National Register of Historic Places as the J.S. Halpine Tobacco Warehouse. "They hadn't ever been in it. They were impressed with the facility as it was left when we closed it. They were just very happy in general. They've been hard-pressed to find that level of facility without traveling to Danbury," he said, adding, "There's probably not much in Danbury that's going to match it."
As part of his calculations concerning the inn, Mr. Sproviero pointed to the widening of Route 7 from two to four lanes as another factor in his decision to reopen what he described as an upscale version of the Heritage Inn.
"With weekend traffic, more tourism will come back to the area. Then, you've got your constants. The private schools. The different functions that occur in [ New Milford] in the summer. We're getting back in at the right time. We're going to be a notch above what we were as far as décor," he said.
With wireless technology and a business center, the improved accommodations at the inn will also feature a manager's reception seven nights a week, according to Jillian Alps, a property consultant for the company who is also president of the Connecticut Lodging Association.
"The staff will cater to a corporate guest that will expect to stay there for one or two weeks," Ms. Alps said. Rates for rooms are expected to range between $100 and $150 per night.
Sproviero Asset Management owns both the New Milford and Brookfield properties. That fact, combined with its planned capacity for extended stays, places it in a very desirable sector of the hotel market. According to an article entitled "Extended Stay Hotels Secure in Industry Sweet Spot" in this month's online issue of Hotels magazine, hotels with the capacities for extended stays eliminate a "good chunk of labor costs when compared to traditional hotels. ... Extended stay also happens to be less prone to the ups and downs of the cyclical nature of the lodging business," the article by Glenn Haussman reads.
"I think the size of the rooms will make it accommodating for business clientele," said Mr. Spoviero of the refurbished Heritage Inn. "The level of services will work for extended stays. There're much larger rooms that will work for extended stays. There'll be smaller rooms that will work for one-, two-, three- or four-night stays. It's all going to be very high end."
Increasing the inn's appeal, according to Mr. Sproviero, are the exposed beams in the rooms, with their 12- to 14-foot ceilings. However, he emphasized that the revamped rooms, for which the company has retained a designer, will continue to possess a traditional look.
"Definitely not contemporary. Just more substantial," Mr. Sproviero said of the décor of the 20 guest rooms. "You know how you get a sense of something being a little more upscale. The woods are better. The fabrics are better. The carpeting is richer. The amenities in the rooms are going to be more substantial. The management level is going to change," he said.
"We have a pretty strong tie with the community we live in," added Mr. Sproviero, who lives in Bridgewater, of the research the management group conducted before deciding that lightening would strike twice at the historic inn. "We did speak with the [ New Milford] economic development coordinator. We had a meeting with the mayor. Jillian [ Alps] has contacted numerous companies in the areas and the private schools ... the list goes on and on. We feel very good about the Heritage reopening."
"We're excited that he's reopening the Heritage for business and tourist use. They left a gap when they closed," said New Milford's Economic Development Coordinator Vincent Nolan. "We don't think they're mutually exclusive," he continued, referring to a project the town is considering on a 19-acre tract it owns called Still Meadow. There, a developer, should he receive town approval to buy the land, plans to build a hotel on the order of what Mr. Nolan termed a Marriott or Hilton, which would be New Milford's first hotel. "We believe there's enough business in the marketplace as the community grows. We can support both. They'll have different dynamics."
Mr. Nolan said the Sproviero Asset Management group had, at first, considered turning the Heritage Inn into apartments. "They withdrew that idea," he said. By that time, however, the town had gotten Mr. Sproviero into discussions with MEDInstill. "That's why they rethought the opening," he said.
At the Newbury Inn in Brookfield, Mr. Sproviero and Ms. Alps said the property will one day hold a banquet facility. Room rates there are expected to start at $80 per night.
"We're actually changing the name to the Newbury Inn. The quality of the rooms and the facilities are being upgraded substantially," said Mr. Sproviero. "We're going to open a catering facility there to do weddings or banquets," he said, putting completion of the facility two or three years down the road. "It's a whole new building that has to be put up. We'll probably start that, then have it completed when the bypass is completed," he said of a four-lane bypass that is planned in Brookfield to speed traffic northbound along Route 7.
The Sproviero Asset Management Group, which was founded in 1985, has properties in Massachusetts and Florida in addition to Connecticut, Mr. Sproviero said, and roughly 100 employees. The company focuses on consulting, lodging, real estate management and construction, he said.
By Nanci G. Hutson
NEW MILFORD -- A 19th-century tobacco warehouse at the corner of Bridge and Middle streets is being reborn as a bed-and-breakfast inn.
The historic building was renovated into a 20-room bed-and-breakfast inn in the late 1980s, but closed more than a year ago due to managerial issues and a lack of business.
The owner, Luciano Sproviero of Brookfield, put the inn on the market for $1.2 million, and when it did not sell, he considered renovating it into apartments.
That proposal did not meet with Zoning Commission approval, so now he will try again to run it as a bed and breakfast.
The business is slated to open the weekend of New Milford's Village Fair Days -- the final weekend of July.
The former bluish-gray inn that sits next to the railroad tracks in the historic downtown village has been repainted a celery and sage green.
The interior has been renovated so guests walk along a tapestry-style carpet to rooms with exposed beams and cherry wood, queen-sized beds, and matching armoires.
"It is very charming,'' manager Denise Russo said.
In a bow to the technological age, each room includes Internet access and wall-mounted, high-definition televisions.
On Friday, Russo and staff were busy rehanging draperies, repairing wallpaper, and making sure everything is spotless for when guests begin arriving on July 27.
"We're wiping away two years of dust,'' Russo said as she cleaned one of the window sills.
On a tour of the lobby, Russo was proud to show off historic photographs that speak to the inn's heritage, which dates to the early 1800s. The wall near the reception desk has a photograph of President Theodore Roosevelt, who briefly stopped outside on Sept. 3, 1902, the same day a member of his presidential party was killed in an accident.
The photograph shows a grave-looking Roosevelt standing on the front of the train as people gaze at him from windows inside what was then The Green Tobacco Warehouse Co., a feed and supply store.
The owner bought the landmark warehouse in 1987 and a year later opened it as Heritage Inn.
In October 2006, Sproviero was seeking a zone change to allow the inn to be converted into small apartments ranging from 150 to 300 square feet.
In February, the Zoning Commission rejected Sproviero's proposal due to concerns about adequate parking and apartment size.
However, commission members did grant him a town landmark district status, which allows him more flexibility for future changes than what is typically allowed in a business zone.
With the reopening just two weeks away, Russo said she has arranged for a landscaper to come this week to mulch and plant flowers and the porch will be decorated with hanging floral baskets. The sitting areas inside the inn have new furniture.
Russo said guests will be treated to a hearty breakfast every day of their stay.
"It will be so lovely to have the inn open again,'' Russo said.
Mayor Patricia Murphy, eager to promote economic growth and tourism in town, said she is delighted that the inn is enjoying a rebirth.
"I'm really happy to see it open again,'' Murphy said, commenting that the proximity to the Housatonic River down the street makes it an attractive stop for guests interested in river recreation. "I think it's great.''
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"We stayed at the Heritage In after my best friend's wedding. This place has really a lot of historic charm, comfortable beds and clean rooms. The warm breakfast was the best way to start the new day."
L.N., Tampa, FL