Woodland Hotel

Disclaimer: AT’s post was a tangent to this one, where he notes that he does not have a pony in this race.  However, it seemed like a good springboard.

Much has been written about the proposed new hotel on Illinois Avenue, bordering the Woodland neighborhood. Some Woodland residents have been vocal in their opposition, but the concept is not without support, either.

AtomicTumor writes,

I fail to see why it’d benefit anybody but Patel and business interests to put the thing there. You’d think there’d be some kinda incentive that could be offered to the Woodland denizens.

I heard Shailesh Patel speak to a small group on this subject a couple of weeks ago, and he’s actually devoting considerable effort to canvassing the neighborhood, trying to determine what he could do to make the project not just more palatable, but more appealing to the neighbors. It was my impression that he is quite sincere in going beyond what is needed for City approval, and actually is concerned about addressing the neighborhood concerns.

Does Oak Ridge need another hotel? My first thought is, he’s the businessman, and it’s his money at risk. He’s been around here for quite a long time, and he’s too sharp to make a foolish gamble. He’s done his market research, and I don’t think he’d take that kind of chance unless the data backed up his decision.

I doubt that all of our hotels are full all of the time, but there are certainly occasions when they are, notably during rowing events. Our local industries are also ramping up several projects that bring people in on business. Folks that stay in our hotels contribute to sales tax collections not just through their room tax, but also from eating out at every meal. Yet, it doesn’t seem like they would cost us much in the way of City services such as fire, police, utilities infrastructure and schools.

I would be much more suspicious of some out-of-towner like Arnsdorff planning this venture, but Patel lives here, works here, and has kids in school here. It’s worth carefully weighing the consideration he’s put into both the hotel and the neighborhood impact before lining up against him.

Truthfully, would this smallish hotel have more negative impact than the large apartment complex across the street?

Although the location and traffic patterns wouldn’t be nearly as favorable in the empty field across from my neighborhood, I would not object to it going there. Especially if it also attracted a little grocery store and other needed commercial business to the west end.

The new Food City is only about a mile further from my house, but the five traffic lights in between double the travel time. Business can make good neighbors, and good neighborhoods.

5 thoughts on “Woodland Hotel

  1. Man, hell with the west end, woman! We need it on the east end! Those middle of the town bastards stole our grocery store (and replaced it with a floor plan as drunkenly monkeyed up as the parking lot).
    I’ll probably blab on that later.

    Now, you quoted one part of my thing, but not the part when I said I don’t have a pony in that race. Really, I could care less. The point of the post (as you well know) was that the council is picking and choosing the issues it’ll deign to comment on.

  2. Duly noted that this wasn’t the point of your post… and the new FC took out the one at Illinois Ave (not exactly west, but the closest grocery nonetheless) as well.

  3. Have to side with ole AT on this one, in that I don’t feel that I really have a dog in the fight, but just for fun….

    What happens to Mr. Patel’s little hotel after the first five years? The new has worn off and for the sake of argument let’s say that he did make some huge mistakes in his market research and the business just isn’t there. Patel has taken the bulk of the tax deprecation in the first few years, the bet isn’t paying off, except now the former Days Inn is five years older too and now the hourly trade has found their way to the Holiday Inn Express. Except the hotel hasn’t been kept up to the standards of Holiday Inn so they have lost their franchise rights. Just like what happened to the old Holiday Inn here in Oak Ridge. Now we have a dumpy, no name small hotel in a residential neighborhood that caters to the hourly hotel crowd.

    What does that do to the residential property values, not only around the hotel, but also all over Woodland? They plummet. All because the city fathers were too short sighted to see what a major impact this hotel could possibly have in a residential neighborhood if the scenario weren’t as rosy as the good Mr. Patel has explained. Don’t’ get me wrong. I don’t know Mr. Patel, so I’ll assume that he is a good and honest man. Good and honest men make mistakes everyday. The problem is that this one has the potential of negatively impacting a bunch of folks.

    The whole thing boils down the math. Is the risk really worth the reward? Hey, it may very well be. The problem is that this city council isn’t going to spend too much time explaining that equation to the good folks in Woodland. They are gonna see a couple of short term dollar signs and gavel down.

    While I don’t really think that this decision is going to have much of an impact on my family and I, I can’t help but feel badly for those that will be living next to this project. There will not be an up side for them. Until the entire area goes commercial and they can cash in.

  4. I’d hate to work on the call-center that gets all the police complaints about noise violations when all the high school and college rowers are hanging around the hotel, yakking it up or *gasp!* drinking.
    Yep, wouldn’t want to live next to that.

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