Letter to the Editor: Another Hotel?

Letter to the Editor: Another Hotel?

A group of investors have recently held meetings in the Durant Center with some home owners as well as absentee house owners on Harvard Street attending. Harvard street is a beautiful one lane street between Cameron and King street with shaded trees a few blocks from the King Street Metro. At the present time there is no major problem with parking since on both sides of the street there is off street parking. On the odd number side of the street there are beautiful porches in front of each house which is raised up above the sidewalk and street level. Harvard Street is not in the Old Town Historic District but its town houses are now almost 100 years old. The street has become an expensive one to live on with a house generally selling for $700,000 or above. Developers want to make some major changes to the immediate surrounding area of the street.

A six-and-a-half story hotel is proposed to be built on the 1600 block of King Street with white bricks not the historical red. Also, the back of the hotel will be a glass façade. Before the hotel is built developers propose to destroy two buildings. One building is historic having been built around 1900ish. It is occupied and or owned by the United States Navy Association, having been restored a few years back. It is a beautiful red brick three- or four-story building with an attached open parking lot to it at the corner of King and Harvard streets. The second building to be destroyed is presently offices. The 1600 1619 Naval Association building or its owners have signed a "Right to Own" so that the hotel will have the right to tear down the two buildings and build a 124-126 room hotel with restaurant.

I live on Harvard Street and have lived there since 1975. I have seen many older buildings ripped down to make room for office buildings and hotels. The hotel at King and Harvard if built will be one of three hotels on one city block. It is totally beyond imagination to have this many hotels on one city block. It is proposed to destroy four mature trees on the entrance of Harvard Street at King Street so that new ones will be replaced as well as develop a two-way entrance to the street so that it will be easy for hotel guests to enter and leave the hotel. The present parking lot will be destroyed and a one level underground parking lot will be made available also for guests. Pile poles will be used. A large pole almost blocks the entrance to the alleyway on the side of the proposed hotel that has to be removed since it holds the electric lines providing electricity to nearby office buildings. The developers have stated that they will take it down and construct underground electric wires. Massive construction will take place as well as other developments taking place in the area and explained in a previous letter to the paper.

This proposed hotel is not needed in this part of the city since it is saturated with new hotels. In fact Alexandria does not need another hotel any place in this city. There are two basic reasons why: New hotels developing in Harbor Place across the Potomac River in Maryland, and the continual decline in small businesses and shops up and down King Street either closing or going online. Why in the world would anyone want to come and stay in another new hotel when in years to come or possibly even in 2017 there is nothing here of quality to see or do. I am not in favor of supporting a new hotel in the King Street Metro area on King street, and the destruction of the last remaining older historic building, and I am not alone in this view. I know many people who live, work and play here who have the same feeling as I do.

Jim Melton