Dear fellow Montpelier residents and Capitol Plaza customers,

I’m writing to let you know about some recent changes at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and to reiterate our commitment to the construction of the voter-approved parking garage and adjoining Hampton Inn and Suites. Our family loves Montpelier. My wife, Mary, and I have made our home on Elm Street since 1962 and, along with other city residents and business owners, we've committed our entire adult lives to growing our town, supporting other local businesses and our award-winning public schools.

Regarding the parking garage, the appeal process — now with only two appellants — is ongoing. We are optimistic the Hampton Inn and Suites and the voter-approved city-owned parking garage will prevail and be constructed. However, the timeline has already been delayed one year and it could be longer. In the meantime, we’ve reached out to Hilton and they are willing to wait it out with us for at least the near future.

As a gesture of goodwill with Hilton, as well as to solidify Capitol Plaza’s position in the local hotel market, we have decided to become: Capitol Plaza Hotel Montpelier, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. This is the boutique line of the Hilton hotel franchise. The hotel is still owned, operated and managed by the Bashara Family and our current staff. We still will be a unique hotel to share our story of Montpelier with our guests. However, we will be able to utilize the Hilton Reservation System in order to offer reward points to our guests and increase hotel visibility and access to the more than 100 million Hilton Honors members.

As part of this rebranding, we are beginning a significant upgrading process which will include the hotel lobby, hotel guest rooms, conference and banquet rooms. We will continue operating as the independent Capitol Plaza Hotel until the preliminary phase of work, including the reservation system, is operational. We anticipate switching over to the Capitol Plaza Hotel Montpelier, Tapestry Collection by Hilton in the spring of this year. These are exciting changes for our family and for the city we love.

You may have noticed some construction in the Capitol Plaza parking lot. We are currently installing parking gates, which we hope will be operational in early- to mid-February. We will utilize the most state-of-the-art smart parking system offering entry and exit through automated scan devices, apple watches, pre-sent codes and frequency cards. This system will operate 24/7. Pay stations will be available at the exit islands, in foot stations inside the hotel, and in portable locations such as J. Morgan’s and conference rooms. This automated parking system owned and operated by the Capitol Plaza will maximize the amount of parking for our hotel guests, conference guests, J. Morgan’s customers and our tenants. Pay-by-the-hour parking will be available to the public on certain days and be defined by clear entry signs that will say “open,” “full” or “reserved for hotel.”

We’ve met with downtown business owners, and we will be partnering with local retailers and restaurants in the initial stages by offering complimentary or discounted trial codes. This automated system will define the boundaries of our lot and make it far clearer to consumers, especially given the new development surrounding Capitol Plaza. Northfield Savings Bank patrons will continue to be able to park in front of the bank or use the drive-thru with a certain amount of complimentary time to do their transactions.

We’ll be sure to keep you up to date as our steps progress.

Frederick Bashara lives in Montpelier.

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