NEW BEDFORD — The newest addition to downtown New Bedford is officially open for business. The New Bedford Harbor Hotel held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning to commemorate the grand opening of the city's newest attraction.

Mayor Jon Mitchell joined state and local elected officials in the main lobby along with ownership and management groups of the hotel to hold the ribbon cutting ceremony. The hotel had an official soft opening on July 16 and has been ready and open to the public ever since.

“The opening of the New Bedford Harbor Hotel will add fuel to the downtown restaurant and retail scene and help meet the growing demand for hotel rooms in the city,” Mayor Mitchell said. “This investment is a validation of the general optimism for the city's future.”

The elected officials were also joined by project developer Shiawee Yang, the President of Columbus Group, and Duane Schroeder, Vice President of Waterford Hotel Group, LLC, the company managing the hotel.

The New Bedford Harbor Hotel is an Ascend Hotel Collection member.

Located at 222 Union Street, the city's newest hotel features 70-rooms spanning five floors with contemporary downtown accommodations.

Connected to the lobby is a 3,300-square-foot restaurant and bar and a 5,100-square-foot banquet space that can seat up to 90 people for dinners and over 125 people for wedding events. The full-service bar and restaurant has been open to the public since mid-July and employs just over 50 people, 42 of them from New Bedford. The banquet space is available for reservations as well.

The New Bedford Harbor Hotel features a full service restaurant and bar. Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media.

“We built this place for the community. Everybody is welcome and you can come and stay with us or you can just come in for a drink,” said Columbus Group President Shiawee Yang. “Everybody is welcome every day at any time. We wanted to make sure the community is being served very well. I cannot wait to show our hospitality.”

The construction and redevelopment of the site began in the spring of 2017 with an official groundbreaking ceremony held last April for the project. It's the second hotel in downtown New Bedford, designed to better serve the demand of visitors to Greater New Bedford.

The interior design is that of an ocean theme with the carpeting and pictures setting the scene of a beachside resort. The building's original floor and walls remain in some rooms because builders had to save part of the old building and get creative with its design to accommodate for the aged structure. Out of the 70 rooms in the hotel, six have double beds with the rest featuring a single king or queen sized bedding. Hotel management says they are in the middle of the process of turning the top floors into suites.

Harbor Hotel management also says that during low-occupancy seasons the average per night cost will be around $129, which could go up to around $200 during summer months and holiday weekends. As part of the Choice Hotel Group they are required to provide full-service breakfast to all customers.

The project was funded by a combination of private equity, as well as a TIF (tax increment financing) by the City of New Bedford and Commonwealth of Massachusetts in an effort to encourage economic development. MassDevelopment provided a loan guarantee for the project.

The New Bedford Economic Development Council facilitated the project by coordinating with all partners during site selection, design, permitting and construction, working with local and state agency partners throughout the project. The city also provided infrastructure support to the hotel project during the concurrent roadwork and infrastructure improvements on Union Street.

Walking into the 'Corner Room' on the third floor of the New Bedford Harbor Hotel. Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media.
Looking out to Union Street from the lobby of the New Bedford Harbor Hotel. Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media.
Ocean colored and themed hallway inside the New Bedford Harbor Hotel. Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media.
View from a third story room inside the New Bedford Harbor Hotel. Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media.
View of Union Street from inside the banquet room of the New Bedford Harbor Hotel. Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media.
The New Bedford Harbor Hotel sits on the corner of Union Street and Pleasant Street in the city's downtown. Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media.