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Motel grows with gambling's popularity

July 13, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Brothers Terry and Ronnie Marcus always talked about expanding their Turf Motel if business improved at the nearby Charles Town Races.

"It's obvious you weren't going to do anything until the video lottery referendum was passed. We feel now, obviously, it is worth the investment," Terry Marcus said Tuesday.

With throngs of fans now heading to the newly renovated track for video lottery and horse-racing, Marcus said the time has come to expand the Turf.

The Marcuses are planning to tear down part of the Turf to make way for a new Travelodge motel on the five acres they own at 608 E. Washington St.

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Marcus said 30 of the motel's 46 rooms will have to be torn down to create space for the entrance and exits for the new motel.

The current office and restaurant will be kept, he said. The expansion will include 104 rooms, giving the motel 120 rooms.

The new motel will be four stories with the top three floors overlooking Charles Town Races, Marcus said.

The building will be 62 feet tall, meaning the Marcuses will have to get a variance from a town zoning regulation that limits building height to 50 feet.

The Marcuses also will have to get a zoning variance for a sign on a new motel, he said.

The Charles Town Zoning Board of Appeals will consider the variance requests at 7 p.m. today.

Diana Walch, chairwoman of the zoning board, declined to comment on the project.

If the variance is granted, construction could begin in early August, Marcus said. The project will take about six months to complete.

The Turf was built by their father, Charles Marcus, in 1955. He also built the former Southern Motel in 1952 at the site where the Towne House Motor Lodge stands.

The new motel will generate about $40,000 a year in tax revenues for the city, Marcus said.

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