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Best Western Grand Venice Hotel plans to demolish some rooms

January 10, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • The owners of the Best Western Grand Venice Hotel on Dual Highway in Hagerstown plan to demolish the motel-like portion, which has not been used for the past five years.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — About 150 rooms of the Best Western Grand Venice Hotel on Dual Highway likely will be razed this year.

Nithin Jayadeva, general manager and co-owner of the hotel, said the hotel plans to demolish the motel-like portion of the Venice that has not been used for the past five years.

Not connected to the main hotel, the motel portion was built in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and, with its exterior corridors and aging rooms, has become obsolete, Jayadeva said.

“It has been an eyesore for some time,” he said.

Demolishing that section of the hotel will be an improvement, he said.

“I think overall, this will be a great thing for Hagerstown and the downtown area,” he said.

Jayadeva and his brother bought the Venice about six years ago as Paradise Hospitality LLC and, not long after, stopped renting the motel rooms, he said.

The Grand Venice Hotel currently rents only 114 of its more than 200 rooms, he said.

The brothers initially planned to renovate the motel portion, but changes in the economy have made renovation too costly, Jayadeva said.

Before the hotel can demolish the rooms, it must receive city approval, according to city documents.

Because the hotel sits on an easement for a city drain, the City of Hagerstown entered into an agreement with previous hotel owners that required them to seek written city council approval before demolishing any units that are within the easement, the documents said.

The documents also said that before building within the easement, the hotel owners also need to seek the city council’s consent.

The city council will discuss today, during a work session, the request for its approval to demolish.

The work session is scheduled for 4 p.m. at City Hall.

Jayadeva said in time, the hotel would like to build on the site of the old motel rooms, but that in the interim, it will be used for parking.

For now, no firm plans for the land have been made, he said.

Demolition would start soon after the city consents and could take up to 90 days, he said.

To his knowledge, the building does not contain asbestos, and much of the old motel portion will be salvaged and recycled as part of the demolition, Jayadeva said.

The Best Western Grand Venice Hotel, known previously as the Venice Inn, has been a restaurant and convention center for more than 40 years, according to Herald-Mail archives. It began as the dream of an Italian immigrant, Ettore Avellino Vidoni, who came to the United States in 1923.

He and his wife, Maddalena Vidoni, opened an 80-seat restaurant in a one-story addition built onto the front of their home on Cleveland Avenue in December 1949, according to the archives.

They built an 11-room motel in 1951 and added a separate building in 1959. The family house was removed in 1960 to provide more off-street parking, according to the archives.

A $6 million expansion began in 1983, adding a swimming pool, a new lobby, offices and 220 parking spaces.

The hotel underwent 10 expansions in 35 years, and in 1999 had 222 rooms, according to news reports.

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