Proposed hotel in downtown Summerville draws intense criticism

VIDEO: Proposed hotel in downtown Summerville draws intense criticism

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Opposition is mounting against a proposed boutique hotel for downtown Summerville. On Thursday, several organizations, including the Summerville Preservation Society came together to share growing concerns.

The Dorchester Hotel would be built on 2.23 acres of land at South Cedar Street and West Richardson Avenue. The $30 million projects is a hybrid mixture of a hotel, condominiums, a restaurant, a parking garage and a conference center.

"It's too big, too massive and too much to put on that block of the historic district," says Heyward Hutson, the president of the Summerville Preservation Society.

"I cannot foresee a four-story monstrosity, that takes up a whole block, right in the middle of the historic section," says lifelong Summerville resident Jonea Crider Adams.

The developer, Arthur Applegate of Applegate & Co., would put in $24 million and the town would pay $5.6 million using money from its hospitality tax over 20 years. On July 9, town council voted 5-2 approving a public-private partnership with the developer. Town council member Walter Bailey says he does not support the public-private enterprise.

"If the economy turns bad gain like it did in 2008 and the hotel doesn't make it, we've got millions of dollars of taxpayer money stuck inside a possibly empty building."

On Monday, the town's Board of Architectural Review decided not to vote on moving the hotel forward just yet. The board is expected to take up the issue again next month. Bailey says no further approval would be needed beyond the BAR's decision.

No public hearing has been held, Town officials will hold an informational meeting November 12 at 6:30 at 200 South Main Street in Summerville.