Construction to start soon on retro-style boutique motel in Colchester

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Visitors to Essex County’s bountiful attractions, cycling network and bourgeoning breweries and wineries will soon be able to book a room at a hip new boutique motel in the quaint village of Colchester.

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Partners Jennifer and James Flynn and Kim and Jeff Lewis will break ground for the construction of their latest project — the retro-inspired, 28-room Grove Motel — within the next month or two.

“We’re super excited,” said Jennifer Flynn, who also serves as the general manager of the group’s Grove Hotel — a unique boutique hotel in Kingsville.

Describing the planned development as having a “retro-style, vintage motel feel,” Flynn said the $5-million project will be state of the art in terms of finishes.

“It will feel like an old motel — retro,” she said. “I kind of liken it probably to ‘70s, ‘80s kind of range.

“Every room will be different with its own theme.”

Jennifer Flynn, a partner in the Grove Motel project, is pictured at the Grove Hotel in Kingsville, on Thursday, February 3, 2022.
Jennifer Flynn, a partner in the Grove Motel project, is pictured at the Grove Hotel in Kingsville, on Thursday, February 3, 2022. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

The partners purchased a municipally owned property at 96 County Rd. W. that had been deemed excess by the Town of Essex. The deal closed Monday.

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Site selection, rezoning, site plan control and environmental remediation work has already been done.

Essex Mayor Richard Meloche said the town is “thrilled” to welcome the Grove Motel to Colchester.

“The long-awaited development will offer a unique experience to local residents and tourists alike,” Meloche said. “This unique development will add tremendous value to our community and positively contribute to the local economy.”

Flynn said she is the main designer for the group but the team collaborates on design decisions.

“Usually I bring my crazy ideas and they either say yea or nay,” she said with a laugh. “We do work collectively on it. It’s a fun process for sure.”

The motel will also have a retro-inspired lobby with some type of food service, either a coffee shop or bar.

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Artist rendering of the proposed Grove Motel in Colchester.
Artist rendering of the proposed Grove Motel in Colchester. Photo by Grove Motel /Windsor Star

“People could pop in, have a bite to eat. There will be a small retail shop (too),” Flynn said. “Obviously we love to have people around so that will be open to the public. That’s our intention at this point.”

The property is a blank canvas — on open field. Originally the partners proposed a $2-million plan for 14 individual cottages centred around the old Colchester schoolhouse site at 195 Bagot St.

When that fell through, they began looking around for another property.

“I think Colchester, we always thought was a great opportunity,” Flynn said.

“Our entire philosophy was that being theoretically at the other end of the wine route is a great location to service the wineries, where they’re in desperate need of accommodations.

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“We feel that our area in general has so much potential to be the next Niagara-on-the-Lake or Prince Edward County, depending on how you look at it,” she added.

“But we need to have that accommodation component if we’re encouraging people to come to the area. We have to have a place for them to stay.”

The partners plan to open the motel in late 2022. The development will provide not only construction jobs but long-term hospitality and retail work for the Colchester community.

“It has so much potential. It’s really cute and we’re just hoping to add to that,” Flynn said.

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Artist rendering of the proposed Grove Motel in Colchester.
Artist rendering of the proposed Grove Motel in Colchester. Photo by Grove Motel /Windsor Star
Artist rendering of the propose Grove Motel in Colchester.
Artist rendering of the propose Grove Motel in Colchester. Photo by Grove Motel /Windsor Star
Artist rendering of the proposed Grove Motel in Colchester.
Artist rendering of the proposed Grove Motel in Colchester. Photo by Grove Motel /Windsor Star

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