NEW PORT RICHEY — Council members paved the way Nov. 2 for another building block in the city’s ongoing redevelopment efforts along the gateway to downtown.

The New Port Richey Hotel Group LLC was granted initial approval in a City Council vote to build on a site along U.S. 19 next to the recently completed Keiser University and the new city parking garage.

The hotel, a Comfort Suites by Choice Hotels, is a $10 million project, and construction is slated to begin in December.

Brad Cornelius, the city’s consulting planner for the Development Department, gave a presentation for the hotel’s first hearing of conditional use. The address for the future hotel is 6218 U.S. Highway 19 on 1.29 acres.

The Development Review Committee recommended to approve the project, which meets the city’s land development code requirements. The criteria involve having 25 or more guest rooms, which will be accessible from interior hallways, and the hotel must provide a covered drop-off zone to serve as a formal entryway for vehicles and pedestrians for guest drop-off/loading. The hotel can’t exceed five stories or 75 feet — the proposed hotel will be five stories and less than 75 feet. It will also feature 89 guest rooms.

The council praised the project but did want to know how parking would be tackled. Cornelius said that there are about 40 planned on-site parking spots and 60 spots will be reserved in the adjacent parking garage for hotel use.

Councilmen Peter Altman and Matt Murphy both agreed the hotel would mark another step forward for the city’s downtown area and will be another great addition to New Port Richey.