New Owners Check in for Extended Stay at Historic Hotel
reprinted from The Rambler - March/April 2003
The old saying "when one door closes another opens" could apply to the history of the Fitzpatrick Hotel. In the last five years, two developers have attempted to bring the 1898 hotel back as a functioning member of downtown Washington, but it seemed no one could find success transforming the eclectic, Victorian-era structure. Considering the progress and dedication of its current owners and developers, the third time may be the charm.
Once a grand destination for travelers, the Fitzpatrick's rooms have sat vacant for decades. Years of storms had damaged many of the wooden support beams and to some observers it almost seemed as if the tree growing inside the structure was its main form of support.
Despite its deterioration, the old hotel had maintained many of its original features, including all but one mantel, elegant stained glass windows on the front facade, all the moulding, the staircase and the front lobby desk.
"Even in the decrepit state it was in when we first saw it, we could still imagine what it was like in its heyday," said Christy Todd, who along with her husband Mike and her father Amit Mehta and partner Jim Carter make up Fitzpatrick LLC, the owners and developers of the hotel. "We really think there is a lot of potential here."
They are planning to turn the building into a 17-room hotel with a conference room, ballroom and catering kitchen, in addition to storefronts, retail and restaurant space on the lower level. According to Sandy White, manager of the Washington Downtown Development Authority, nearby building owners are joining with Fitzpatrick LLC to deed land to the city behind their buildings to create a public parking lot for the businesses to share.
Since purchasing the building in March 2002, the developers began major work in August 2002 and hope to finish the project by summer of 2004. In the meantime, the Fitzpatrick owners are continuing the old hotel's tradition of hospitality by hosting a construction tour Saturday, April 5 during Washington's spring tour of homes and May 3 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days). For more information on the tour, call Christy Todd at 706-742-7264 or visit www.thefitzpatrickhotel.com.
With the planned hotel and conference accommodations, Ms. White said she is hopeful the Fitzpatrick will attract small conferences or meetings to Washington. "The Fitzpatrick has been the big 'white elephant' for years in our downtown," said Ms. White. "Now it's going to be a nice anchor."