Instead of a hotel, Mashpee selectmen have decided to pursue the development of workforce housing on a vacant town-owned piece of land near the Community Health Center of Cape Cod.
Their decision to give up on a hotel for the spot follows a close call by a national chain, WoodSpring Hotels, to bring a large-scale accommodation establishment to town.
And it also leaves some questions as to why hotels have not settled in Mashpee.
Guests to weddings hosted in New Seabury and Willowbend and elsewhere in town often travel outside Mashpee for accommodations, such as in Falmouth and Barnstable.
At the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce, officials recommend guests stay at the Santuit Inn on Route 28, but when that fills up, which is normally pretty quickly in the summer months, they suggest neighboring communities.
Mashpee has long sought to attract a hotel in order to keep visitors in town, and supply more jobs. The town would receive rooms tax revenue with a hotel, as well as property tax revenue.
In 2007, the Mashpee Economic Development and Industrial Corporation decided to request proposals from developers interested in building a hotel and conference center on the town-owned land across from the health center. But nothing came of the initiative.
Then, in 2013, selectmen unanimously voted to give then-town manager Joyce M. Mason the go-ahead to prepare a request for proposals for a hotel developer to build on the Commercial Street property. But no hotel has yet been built there.
Current Town Manager Rodney C. Collins said that he has spoken with a number of potential hotel developers, but nothing has come to fruition either.
“I don’t know why,” Mr. Collins responded when asked why hotels seem to dislike Mashpee.
The closest, at least publicly, was WoodSpring Hotels, a national chain that specializes in “extended-stay” rooms. The company had looked at three areas in town: the lot near the health center, a vacant lot off Route 28 near Rockland Trust, and Mashpee Commons.
The idea was that, with an extended-stay hotel, the hotel might kill two birds with one stone; while shouldering the off-season burden, the hotel could supply housing. A regional vice president of development for the national hotel chain at the time said that the area has a demand for accommodations in the summer months, and a need for housing in the winter.
Town Meeting passed an article that would allow the development of a four-story hotel in the central area of Mashpee. WoodSprings conducted a feasibility study of the area.
But that was the last reported on the hotel. The same regional manager could not be reached for comment.
In an effort to mitigate the housing problem in town, selectmen have given up on developing a hotel on that town-owned land. They have led a number of joint meetings with several regulatory boards in town, and the popular refrain was the need for more housing.
Mary Lou Palumbo, executive director for the Mashpee chamber, agreed that hotels and housing for workers are two big needs in Mashpee. But she would take the housing over the hotel.
The chamber director, too, was unsure why hotels do not like the area. She has heard that hotels might have a difficult time in the winter months, but she was unsure if that was the reason. She said that Mashpee is open for business year-round.
Ms. Palumbo also said that it might be tougher for hotels now that the area is awash with house-shares and other online bookings like AirBnB.
Still, Ms. Palumbo said that a hotel could be a benefit to the town, especially one that offered space for conferences or special events like weddings. Instead of shipping guests out of town, the chamber could recommend local accommodations as well.
Besides the Santuit Inn, a three-star motel on Route 130, and La Plaza Del Sol, a two-star motel on Route 28 near Cotuit, there are no chain hotels in business in the town.