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Proposed Union Street Hotel Site for Lease

Carr Hospitality says it's sticking with its plans to build a hotel there.

A "for lease" sign at 220 S. Union St. set off a flurry of community speculation about the site that could one day house a hotel on the Old Town waterfront.

Carr Hospitality has suggested to the city it would like to demolish the building and construct a hotel there. That proposal has proponents but also has been met with opposition from Alexandrians who say a hotel would cause additional parking problems and generate unwanted trash, among many other concerns.

The opponents of waterfront hotels say they are not asking for preservation of the current building at 220 S. Union, but “would like to preserve and enhance the landscapes, settings, neighborhoods, and places and features of historic significance.”

Carr Hospitality President Austin Flajser told Patch last week that his firm's intent to construct a boutique hotel at the site remains. Carr does not have an official application in with the city, but an informal proposal for its hotel plans.

The Art League previously leased the building, but its term ended so the space is being marketed for a new lease. The art school has left the site and expanded operations at its annex on Madison Street.

That area of the waterfront is not currently zoned to accept hotels but could be in the future. However, there's currently a lawsuit before Virginia's Supreme Court related to the zoning issues.

Calls to Simpson Realty, which is listed as the contact for the property, were not returned.

Jim Roberts January 22, 2013 at 12:20 AM
If my memory serves me correctly, this is a successor Carr company whose namesake, Oliver Carr, destroyed not one but two historic properties, at least one in the middle of the night not all that many years ago One property was across the street from the White House and the other was nearby, the Rhodes Tavern as I recall. Much hue and cry ensued but Carr got what it wanted historic preservation easements be damned. The midnight destruction made clear Carr knew what it was doing. By daylight, the dirty deed was done. Of course, there was much apologizing, maybe even a token monetary fine, but The Rhodes Tavern is no more and the massive, uninspiring structure Carr wanted to build in its place still stands. If they are true to their legacy, Carr cares not one wit about any city's proscriptions, neighbors' concern or the historical context in which they will build what they want to build.
Katy Cannady January 22, 2013 at 02:44 PM
The Carr proposal was reviewed at an informal meeting of the Old and Historic District Board of Architectural Review. It did not even meet the guidelines of the new Waterfront Small Area plan. As one example, it has no opening to the Potomac River, merely an interior courtyard which by its very nature would never be used by the public, only hotel guests. So much for "waterfront for all."
Sharon McLoone January 22, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Here is a link to the article I wrote about that meeting: http://patch.com/A-w0Wv
OT insider January 23, 2013 at 02:56 AM
I don't get the news story here. Hotel or no hotel, the current dilapidated eyesore is going to remain for quite some time, so what's the big deal about renting it out? Is there something new with the redevelopment proposal?
Waterfront1 January 23, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Does anyone know if the new City Council is going to vote on the text amendment? Wouldn't a supermajority vote in favor of the text amendment moot the lawsuits? Carr might be waiting to see if the new City Council is going to do a blanket rezoning of the waterfront. Rather than proceed with a stand-alone rezoning of just the Cummings' parcel, like they were trying to do last summer. Also, does anyone know anything about the status of Robinson Terminal South? EYA is currently redeveloping the former Sheet Metal Workers building on Oronoco Bay Park with $120 million worth of luxury condos. I've heard EYA also tried to buy Robinson Terminal South, but the price was too high. Does anyone know what the asking price is for Robinson Terminal South? And if Robinson Terminal South is actively for sale?

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