Hotel Louise building developer looking to build parking towers

Published 6:28 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2021

With hazardous material remediation work set to begin at the Hotel Louise building in January 2022, the developers of the property are looking to purchase an adjacent parcel from the City of Washington in order to build parking towers for the building’s future residents and employees.

The Hotel Louise Building has been vacant since 2010 and is currently classified as a brownfield site — a label government agencies grant to properties where the presence or potential presence of environmental contaminants may complicate efforts to expand, redevelop or reuse the property. Environmental Protection Agency reports say the Lady Louise building is contaminated with metals and inorganic materials.

Lady Louise LLC in 2020 purchased the Hotel Louise building and an adjoining parking lot, and then entered into a public/private partnership contract with the city. Through that contract, the city assumed ownership of the building because it could apply for grants that the developers weren’t eligible for, such as the EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant and the North Carolina Neighborhood Revitalization Grants. In May 2021, the EPA announced that a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grant would be used to clean up the building.

The building served as a hotel and a first-floor storefront until 1972, at which point its upper floors were repurposed as apartments and the ground floor was repurposed for commercial use. Lady Louise LLC plans to redevelop the property to include a grocery store and additional commercial space on the ground floor, 40 apartments on the upper floors and a banquet facility on the roof.

The developers say the biggest challenge they’re facing as the project moves forward is parking. The building’s current parking lot includes eight spots. The developers estimate they’ll need around 60 spots to accommodate residents and employees.

The Hotel Louise’s current parking lot is accessible through a city parcel that includes four parking spots. At Monday’s Washington City Council meeting, Lady Louise LLC manager Sean Sprouse will request to purchase that parcel and the surrounding green space in order to build several parking towers.

“These are vehicles that will not be putting added stress on city lots,” Sprouse wrote in a supporting document.

“The most unique thing about our request is that we will be providing more public space than the current city lot,” Sprouse added.  “… Our goal is to create a functional green space that connects Main Street, Union Alley and the waterfront. Lady Louise is in the center of the community, we see this as a hub for economic activity and the best way to connect Main Street and the waterfront. This can be accomplished with a pedestrian deck that would run from Main Street and wrap around the building with waterfront views and access on the south side of the new parcel.”

Supporting documents show that the parking towers would utilize a vertical rotary parking system.