Friday, January 30, 2009

We Won't Even Leave the Light On For Ya'

The Southern Highland Reader reports that construction of the Clarion Hotel on Highway 107 has ceased.

The general contractor was quoted as saying the project had run out of money.

The hotel formerly known as the Sleep Inn, site of the eagerly awaited Stray Cat Grille, has become the eyesore that many residents had feared when plans for the structure were revealed in 2007.

Just last month, a representative of the project announced an upgrade from Sleep Inn to Clarion Hotel. A billboard on Main Street still advertises an opening date of February 2009. But, alas…

I see the monstrous hulk on the ridge every morning and its ugliness never ceases to offend me. It is amazing, really, that someone was able to design and locate a building even more obtrusive and repugnant than the Walmart and other retail sprawl surrounding it.

But as far as I’m concerned, only one thing would be needed to bring the Clarion Hotel project to a satisfactory conclusion

…and that’s a wrecking ball.

The Love family owned the farm where the hotel has been built, and several members of that family still occupy space on the hill next to the new building. During my recent visit with them, none of the family members would comment on the failed hotel project.

I understand that a bidding war has begun for the highly-coveted and hard-won sewer allocation obtained for the hotel.

Meanwhile, Western Carolina University officials have hired an engineering firm to evaluate the feasibility of moving the entire building to the Millennial Campus and a scenic location overlooking the Cullowhee Body Farm and Forensic Laboratory.

If that option is carried out, the name could change once again, from Clarion Hotel... Carrion Hotel.

Research continues at the WCU Body Farm.


Anonymous said...

yes the lights went out in the thinking of the Town Council / Planning board when it allowed the motel to get started.
I hope it can be moved to the body farm. however there are some budget cuts that might prevent that. The "tear it down" is best. maybe some of the materials could be reused.
now we can wait and see who get the "big flushes" ...hopefully not ANOTHER gated community.
what are the dates of your reporting on the Love cemetery and WHO article about Sleep End.I want to read them again.
thanks much....................

GULAHIYI said...

It's worth going on the Sylva Herald and searching the archives for "Sleep Inn."

For instance, from September 27, 2007:

TJ Investments, which plans to build a Sleep Inn near Sonic, applied for economic development assistance. Grant guidelines require a letter from the company that must “demonstrate that without town assistance, the company would not make the investment in Sylva.” Moody recommended not providing economic support because they did not meet the legal criteria. The motion was passed 3-2 with Hensley and Ray Lewis opposing.

Had one vote flipped, the Sleep Inn would have gotten assistance! Bad enough that a variance was granted.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that the Loves were, by far, the largest slaveholders in Jackson County back in the so called good ol' days. They had established a trading post right near the Cherokee boundary, and maybe it was where Walmart is located today. At any rate, it was in the neighborhood. But the Loves didn't have the beneift of "per cap" checks to bring the customers in for plasma TVs, etc.

Things don't change much over time, do they?

The Sleep Inn is the brainchild of the Dowden Group aka TJ Investments, LLC aka John T. Dowden, 419 Vanderbilt Road, Asehville, NC 28803. Tom Davis has been identified as director of operations.

Anonymous said...

The saddest development here may be that the StrayCat Grille may never come to fruition. The chance to bebop with purple and gold coeds had this mountain bot salivating.
Maybe this is for the good though since it's obvious that the traffic at Moe's Southwest Grille would increase greatly if there were a purple and Gold Hooters right next door in Bardoville.

Anonymous said...

Some folks have to have their stuff smack dab on top of the hill- and clear cut so you can see the edifice they have erected to themselves.

Right here in Stanly County (OK, across the line) A feller has got hisself a little mountain, cleared it, and put a tasteless monstrosity on it. If you go towards Asheboro on NC 49, you can see it as you cross the bridge at Tuckertown.

I hear it took awhile to get built because some locals set fire to stuff a couple times.

Anyway, the joke is on him because I know the area and the best view is from somewhat down the hill on the southwest side, but I guess he couldn't drive to that spot.

Class of '74

GULAHIYI said...

Hey '74,
I thought you were going to tell me about that place on the way to Mount Gilead. It looks like a $3,000,000 Italian villa on top of the hill, with a horse farm all around it. Nice location, alright, but it's a bit much. I hope Montgomery County is collecting plenty of property tax from it.

Anonymous said...

Just add this to the sterile metal monstrosity now under construction next to Zaxby's. A large sign hints at the built-on-spec building owner's hopes of enticing future tenants to yet another strip mall eye sore. This lifeless megalith honors Capitalism at its finest. "Build it and they will come", to a automotive swimming pool of black asphalt. I believe I'll do the belly flop. Ugh. Have we no shame?

Anonymous said...

Hey -

Have not seen the house on the way to Mt Gilead. Which way? Is it on the way from Troy Road just past the Swift Island bridges or from below Norwood by way of Hydro?

Class of '74

GULAHIYI said...

I was going to say Swift Island bridge, but I didn't know if that would be too obscure a reference. I should have figured you'd know that one. (By the way, somewhere in the National Archives - or Library of Congress - I think there is film, moving pictures, of the bombs getting dropped on the old bridge...I'd love to see THAT! I had the reference for it at one time, but never followed up.) Anyhow, turn right after the cross the bridge and the villa is just a few miles - on the right.

I'm wanting to get back to Stanly to check out the archaeological exhibit in Badin. Have you caught that yet? I think it's only open on Sundays and one weekday.

Western North Carolina Writer's Underground said...

I believe that it is past time for someone to raise a little 'Cain' with the county commissioners and the mayor concerning this white elephant eyesore. And that is what I am about to do. Yee Haw!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Gulahiyi-

I just found out about the Badin exhibit. I just about can't believe that you mentioned it because I was just thinking that I ought to mention a book that I just dug off the shelf-

Hardaway Revisited: Early Archaic Settlement in the Southeast, by I. Randolph Daniel, Jr: University of Alabama Press, 1998.

It's an expansion and revision of his doctoral thesis in archaeology. Very interesting, and revived my interest in stone knapping (aphyric rhyolite made Morrow Mountain a center of Woodlands Indian industry and trade) that I learned up on Sugarloaf Mountain years ago. I hope to see the Badin exhibit soon.

Class of '74

Anonymous said...

An Albemarle addendum:

That stretch of road you mentioned down the left bank of the Pee Dee in Montgomery county used to have NOTHING on the bank for miles... except an occasional trotline, remember?

My dad introduced me to a fellow who was a land poor farmer in Montgomery Co.- seems he owned a large stretch of that worthless riverbank in addition to his farm. In the '60's he was overjoyed to unload a piece of the riverbank to the Albemarle policemen for their "hut". Reputedly there was a shooting range there as well. If so, that was one of the quietest shooting ranges I ever knew of- apparently the only practice took place next to the cooler inside.

Virtually nothing happened along that area for decades. I used to fish, camp and tramp there if it wasnt deer season. It was unsafe during hunting season despite being posted, even from the river side.

Recently I saw this same gentleman again at the Ryan's in Albemarle- He's still lives on the farm but is 'retired'- he probably piddles harder than most of us work.

He is however no longer in posession of the riverbank, for which he got baskets of cash. Same overalls and pickup truck though, and presumably living inconveniently long for his heirs...

Class of '74