Luxury Inn and Spa Proposed for The Pinehills

September 22, 2012     Village Green, In The Media

A long-stalled amenity that was part of the original vision for Plymouth’s swankiest development could be under construction by early winter.

John Judge, president of The Pinehills, has announced plans for a luxury resort called Mirbeau Inn & Spa at The Pinehills. The complex will sit on a wooded knoll off the east corner of the Village Green, the development’s commercial center, and include a 50-room inn, fine-dining restaurant, casual wine bar and bistro, full service spa and fitness facility, meeting rooms, and large area for social functions.

Its rough-hewn wood-and-stone exterior will resemble a French country manor house, while guest rooms will overlook The Pinehills’ Rees Jones golf course, a garden-filled courtyard, a pond, and the Village Green.

The project’s estimated cost, including the purchase of 8 acres by Mirbeau Hospitality Services, which will develop the inn and spa, is $21.5 million.

Mirbeau managing director Gary Dower said he expects the inn and spa to open in the spring of 2014. If the venture is successful, an $8 million second phase will add another 40 rooms.

“It’s an excellent marriage of brands,” Dower said of the location choice, in an e-mail. “Both The Pinehills and Mirbeau are focused on providing a fun, relaxing, and unique lifestyle.”

The Pinehills is an upscale development on 3,000 wooded acres, just off Route 3 and 8 miles from the Sagamore Bridge. About 1,600 residences have been built since the project started 11 years ago. The mix includes age-restricted neighborhoods, apartments, town-house condominiums, and single-family homes.

The Village Green boasts a dry cleaner, grocer, liquor store, spa, hair salon, specialty shops, and post office, as well as professional services. The Pinehills’ recreational options include tennis, swimming, golf, and walking trails.

Judge agreed the project is a good fit.

“Mirbeau’s tagline is ‘Life Classically Balanced,’ ” he said. “If you talk to the folks living at The Pinehills, it’s getting that live-work balance that’s important.”

The inn and spa will be owned and run by Mirbeau Boston-South LLC, a subsidiary of Mirbeau Hospitality Services, a New York-based company that opened a similar facility in Skaneateles, in the Finger Lakes region of New York, in 2000. The Pinehills project will mirror that first venture, according to Dower.

“The Mirbeau Inn & Spa concept is a ‘near urban resort,’ ” Dower wrote. “Our locations want to be in rural or suburban areas that are near to large population centers.” Boston and Providence are both within 60 miles of the inn and spa, he noted, and nearly 6 million people live within that radius.

Tony Green, managing partner of Pinehills LLC, said Mirbeau will enhance the region’s amenities.

“These will be very different accommodations from what’s available in the area,” he said. “There isn’t anything like it, not just in Plymouth but on the South Shore.”

A hotel was part of the original plan the town approved for The Pinehills. An early proposal for a Marriott conference center was abandoned in 2002.

“I don’t see any issues on the town side,” Lee Hartmann, Plymouth’s planning director, said of Mirbeau’s proposal. “It’s great all the way around: great for The Pinehills, great for the town, and great for the tourist community.”

The proposal has a few local hurdles to overcome before shovels can hit the dirt, including a review by the Planning Board, which Judge anticipates will get underway next month.

Dower said he hopes to finalize his financing during the next month or two. Part of that effort includes the company’s request for real estate tax breaks from the town under the state’s Tax Increment Financing Program.

Denis Hanks, executive director of both the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation and Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce, said Mirbeau will ask the fall Town Meeting to approve a 10-year tax break agreement on Oct. 20.

According to Hanks, the total exemption over 10 years would be $504,000, while the project would generate $3.4 million in new taxes during that time.

The inn is projected to produce about $1.2 million in local hotel taxes over 10 years, provide 250 jobs during construction, and 140 jobs when it opens, Hanks said.

Judge said he hopes the plan will be well-received.

“We’ve worked hard to try to build credibility with the community and have a good work relationship with the town,” he said. “But in the end, the final decision on this is with town boards and Town Meeting.”

Homeowners in The Pinehills have been notified of Mirbeau’s plan and “the reaction has been positive,” said Judge. “I think for homeowners it’s never been a question of ‘if.’ It was more a question of ‘when.’ ”

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