By Mary E. Arata
DEVENS — After a multimonth lull in the project, the developer of the Hilton Garden Inn extended-stay hotel under construction in the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone (DREZ) has new reason to cheer.
The Devens Enterprise Commission granted tentative approval to both a common victualler (food preparation/sales) and a liquor license for the hotel. The approvals were conditioned on the granting of a food-service permit by the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health.
Westford developer Robert Walker’s Devens Inn, LLC is the owner of the project located within the DREZ retail district, Devens Common. Walker holds two other liquor licenses within Devens Common, at the Marriott hotel and adjoining Devens Conference Center.
The Hilton Garden Inn is to have 118 guest rooms and a 100-seat, full-service restaurant and lounge area. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and be open to both overnight guests of the hotel and the general public.
When operational, liquor may be sold from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday through Saturday.
Commission Administrative Director Peter Lowitt said the Massachusetts state police, which patrols Devens, has no reports of any alcohol-fueled incidents at Walker’s other establishments.
Walker said the Hilton will have three function rooms.
Meanwhile, the commission gave approval for American Superconductor to pump up the amount of flammable materials at their Jackson Road plant. Exactly why the manufacturer needs upwards of 51,000 cubic feet of hydrogen gas on site is not being shared publicly.
A company representative said the need is to service a new client now under contract. Suffice it to say that the company requires the “process gas improvement,” according to George Dainis of Industrial Facilities Design of Hopkinton.
Michael Thomas, the company’s senior manager for Global EHS & Security, assured a commissioner that hydrogen storage is not related to the body-blow the company sustained in March when a Chinese customer stopped payments on wind turbine parts.
Dainis said to date there’s less than 3,000 cubic feet of hydrogen stored inside the plant. The change is to permit up to 48,000 cubic feet more of hydrogen gas in chain-link fenced, 15-by-35 foot external pen holding six long stacked hydrogen tanks.
The external gas storage will reduce the transporting of hydrogen cylinders through the plant. Instead the gas will be piped into the building as needed.
Deliveries will be made via Route 2 through the Jackson Road entrance, with the Devens Fire Department notified when one of eight projected annual deliveries are made to the site.
“Virtually no” noise can be heard from the deliveries, Dainis assured. In a worst-case scenario, if there were an explosion, Dainis said the “blast zone” would be a 100-foot circle or less. A fire suppression system would be useless because it “burns very fast, burns very clean, burns very hot.”
Delivery times for hydrogen gas deliveries were narrowed to 7:30 a.m. till 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.