Hotel Louise developer proposes downtown parking solution, car vending machine

Published 1:37 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

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You can get a candy bar, a pack of crackers and a soft drink from a vending machine? So why can’t you get your car the same way? 

That’s what Lady Louise, LLC Manager, Sean Sprouse is asking. He is the developer transforming the historic Hotel Louise into a luxury apartment complex. He hopes to build a two-tower parking garage between Hotel Louise and Copper Canyon on West Main Street. The garage would retrieve cars like a vending machine, according to illustrations he supplied to the City of Washington. 

Sprouse went before city council during their regular meeting on Mar. 11 to present the idea during the public hearing portion; therefore, council did not take a vote. To get the ball rolling, Sprouse needs to purchase a .11 acre parcel owned by the city that is adjacent to the repurposed hotel. He wants to buy the parcel for $1,100, according to a letter he sent to the city. 

Per the same letter, Sprouse states the lot currently holds eight parking spots; however, he wrote that for incoming residents and employees, the lot will need approximately 60 spaces. 

Illustrations provided by the City of Washington

“Our current lot is accessed by a small city parcel that currently has four parking spots on it. The city parcel’s primary use is for ingress and egress to our parking lot. Our request to purchase the city lot and surrounding green space would enable us to build several parking towers to meet the needs of our residents, employees and City building code. Our acquisition of the City property will permit us to house 60+ vehicles. These are vehicles that will not be putting added stress on city lots,” Sprouse’s letter reads. 

Illustrations provided by the City of Washington

If Sprouse secures the parcel, and is able to build the parking towers, the entry and exit point for the garage would align with the back portion of the converted hotel. In between the parking towers at the hotel, Sprouse plans to add a green courtyard. He also plans to add rooftop access to the converted hotel. 

The parking towers he’s proposing could allow up to 14 cars to be stored in each tower. 

The towers would operate in a similar fashion to the car vending machines CARVANA uses. CARVANA is an online based car dealer known for its multi-story glass car vending machines. The nearest one is in Raleigh.  

Is a proposed vending-style parking tower next to the Hotel Louise a good fit for downtown Washington?

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Lady Louise, LLC and the City of Washington entered into a public-private partnership to secure a $500,000 grant through the EPA for asbestos remediation and lead paint removal. According to the aforementioned letter, the former hotel building will retain original flooring plans and many “historical characteristics.” There will be updates and/or repairs to interior and exterior painting, new kitchen cabinetry, countertops, appliances, lighting, baths, toilets, vanities and flooring. 

Thirty-seven one bedroom apartments are planned for the repurposed hotel, and two, two bedroom apartments. The apartments are expected to be marketed as unfurnished apartments requiring a 12 month lease. 

Lady Louise, LLC hopes to attract either a local or national grocer to fill the 4,000 sq. ft. commercial space on the first floor to provide residents and boaters with a selection of fresh foods and essentials.