Report Recommends Against The Plans Of A 169-Room Downtown Hotel Project

A New York City-based group is aiming to turn several buildings along Main Street into a 169-room hotel with a “cosmopolitan atmosphere,” but a recent city report could foil construction plans. 

On June 12, a report for the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission recommended that the current plans for the project be denied because of the amount of demolition to historic buildings. 

The proposed project by the Dream Hotel Group would turn 811-823 West Main St. into a 10-story hotel with a rooftop lounge and 10,000-square feet of private meeting and event space. 

In the report, Katherine Groskreutz, a historic preservation specialist, wrote, “The proposed demolition of a substantial amount of these structures will severely diminish the historic fabric of each building and will adversely impact their historic integrity.”

Groskreutz also wrote that the section of the West Main Preservation District where the project is intended remains one of the “most contiguously intact blocks of historic commercial buildings within the District,” and because the plan would only maintain the facades of those buildings, the plan does not meet the city’s preservation standards.

“As the proposed demolition does not meet any applicable portion of the West Main Street design guidelines for Demolition, Staff recommends denial of the project as currently proposed,” Groskreutz wrote. “The level of demolition only retains the facades of these six 19th century historic commercial buildings, which is not a best practice in Historic Preservation and should only be considered in the most extreme circumstances.”

In a Nov. 2021 application, the developer of the project, Royal Investments, argued that “The proposed development redevelops buildings that have generally remained vacant for over 20 years. The buildings were originally constructed for river warehouses that are no longer viable – structurally or economically.”

They also said their plan would restore and maintain the buildings.

“The proposed development is responsive to the main defining feature of the West Main Street Preservation District in that the decorative building facades will be refurbished to their former glory and preserved for future generations.”

The West Main Street Architectural Review Committee was scheduled to hear the demolition request at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but it was removed from the meeting’s agenda and will be rescheduled to a later date. 

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