‘The Wilbur’

By on February 1, 2018
Graphic by Todd Spidle A new hotel called “The Wilbur” pays homage to the building’s long history, which dates back to 1900, as a chocolate factory at 47 N. Broad St. Some of the amenities of the 74-room hotel will include a bistro restaurant, meeting rooms, fitness center, business center, dedicated two-deck parking lot with valet service, and some rooms with views of Lititz Springs Park.

                                                 
A new hotel called “The Wilbur” pays homage to the building’s long history, which dates back to 1900, as a chocolate factory at 47 N. Broad St. Some of the amenities of the 74-room hotel will include a bistro restaurant, meeting rooms, fitness center, business center, dedicated two-deck parking lot with valet service, and some rooms with views of Lititz Springs Park. (Graphic by Todd Spidle)

Oak Tree Development Group’s planned 74-room hotel — part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection — will employ ‘adaptive reuse’ of the former Wilbur Chocolate Co. building

by Patrick Burns

Local hospitality is about to go international.

Hilton is set to become the crown jewel in the new look of North Broad Street in downtown Lititz.

Oak Tree Development Group announced Tuesday an agreement that includes a Hilton Tapestry Collection franchise, 74-room boutique hotel, set to open by April 2019.

The collaboration allows Oak Tree to pursue its plan for “adaptive reuse” of the former Wilbur Chocolate Company plant at Broad and Kleine streets.

Mike O’Brien, president of Oak Tree Development, said the hotel matches Lititz’s growing energy, style and fashionability. It is anything but “cookie-cutter,” he said.

A depiction of the drive-up lane off Kleine Street at the planned 74-room, boutique hotel franchise that is part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, which is set to open by April 2019.

“Oak Tree is excited for the opportunity to develop a boutique hotel in downtown Lititz which compliments the unique and special place which is Lititz,” O’Brien said. “The hotel will serve the businesses and residents in the town and will create additional business for the merchants and companies located in the downtown.”

Hilton rolled out the Tapestry Collection, the company’s 14th brand, a year ago. It is positioned in the upscale segment just below Curio — A collection by Hilton, which has been highly successful since launching in 2014, according to the company.

The hotel will be named “The Wilbur,” respecting the building’s long history, one that dates back to 1900, as a chocolate factory at 47 N. Broad St.

Hilton’s Tapestry Collection is a group of hotels which offers its guests a “special experience in a boutique hotel that has a unique history or story and is special in its décor and amenities,” according to the company.

Unlike its other brands, each hotel is different within the collection.

The Wilbur will resonate its roots as other Tapestry Collection hotels have, from jazz-themed New Orleans to the Southern charm of Savannah and Wilmington.

“These distinctive properties each emanate the destinations they call home,” according to Hilton.

Some of the amenities of the 74-room hotel will include: a bistro restaurant that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and provide room service for the guests; meeting rooms; fitness center; business center; dedicated two-deck parking lot with valet service; and some rooms will have views of Lititz Springs Park.

In May 2017, after more than a year in suspense, Lancaster-based Oak Tree announced it was in the process of purchasing the former Wilbur Chocolate plant.

At the time, O’Brien unveiled plans for a mixed-use future for the 11-acre property and former chocolate factory owned by Cargill Inc.

O’Brien said Tuesday that extended negotiations with the company allowed the use of the Wilbur name and the iconic white “Wilbur Chocolate Co.” lettering on the east and south brick sections of the building.

Oak Tree received its approvals for the overall project in late December 2017 from Lititz Borough Council.

Also, this past week, Oak Tree completed the acquisition of the property.

The development project will include: the partial demolition of the existing building along Kleine Street; the Tapestry boutique hotel; sit down restaurant and bar; 26 elevator-served residential condominium units; retail shops along Broad Street; parking facilities; 32 Plus-55 condominium units; and two new market rate apartment buildings, one with 80 units and the other with 75, to be situated along Lititz Springs Park.

Work is proposed to start in late winter of this year. The Wilbur hotel is scheduled to open in April 2019. The overall project is slated to be completed sometime in 2020.

The property operated as a chocolate factory from 1899 until 2016.

Cargill, which moved its retail Wilbur Chocolate Store across the street in October 2016, features historical Wilbur and confectionery industry artifacts, a kitchen where visitors can watch candies being handmade using Wilbur chocolate, and a wide selection of products, including the iconic Wilbur Buds.

O’Brien at that time said the goal was to “preserve as much of this iconic building as possible, and we look forward to offering different uses that will benefit our local community.”

RLPS of Lancaster will serve as project architect, and RGS Associates of Lancaster is the land planner.

Oak Tree intends to use local companies in the development to create more than 100 construction jobs and several permanent jobs upon completion, O’Brien said.

The 13-year-old firm is expected to own and manage more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial and industrial space by the end of 2018.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 717-721-4455.

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