Hotel project management of historic preservation issues: Letter to Mayor and Board of Aldermen

Mr Mayor, Aldermen: I’d like to remind you of Plamondon Hospitality Partners’ (PHP) statement of historic preservation (HP) issues in their winning proposal in response to City RFP 14J the supposed competed procurement for a hotel/CC in 2014:

“Following the pre-application meeting, the next key milestone is PHP’s request for HPC (Historic Preservation Commission) approval to demolish (and replace) the southern portion of the former Frederick News Post building fronting Carroll Creek, and to demolish the Birely Tannery Complex. HPC approval of this demolition request is essential to the design, feasibility, and parking requirement for the Hotel Project. Based on extensive historical studies already conducted by the Plamondon Development Team, PHP is confident that the buildings to be demolished are ‘non-contributing’ historically, and fully satisfy the criteria in Section 423 of the LMC for demolition.

“PHP is confident that the buildings to be demolished are ‘non-contributing’ ” and they have been declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places!

“In consultation with the City’s Historic Preservation Planner, and as permitted under Sec 423 of the LMC, PHP anticipates simultaneously submitting to HPC both its demolition application and its replacement plans for the addition/replacement of existing buildings. Section 423 (e) of the LMC sets forth the HPC process and criteria for reviewing requests for demolition. It is anticipated that a least one public HPC workshop and one public HPC hearing will be required as part of its review of the demolition and replacement plan actions.”

(Key Milestone B: HPC Demolition and Replacement p180 of Plamondon Bid for RFP 14-J dated May 9, 2014)

Those “extensive historical studies” that have never surfaced

PHP’s “extensive historical studies” have never been seen. Nevertheless the City

Birely Tannery building

hotel selection committee scoring proceeded to give PHP points FOR historic preservation while zero-scoring Wormald that was proposing the hotel across the creek on a clear site without any demolition needed. (Rationale for the HP points for PHP was the PHP proposal to make a foyer display of the site’s history and to incorporate some demolished brickwork.)


The author of the winning proposer’s “extensive historical studies” not only thought a permit to demolish the Birely tannery complex would be a pushover, but forgot to specify a Milestone for Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) consideration. Maybe didn’t even know of this being condition of state funding? That such a shoddy proposal as PHP’s for a major development in the downtown historic district should be selected unanimously over a site without HP issues is testimony to the epic incompetence with which this project has been managed over now eight years.

Peter Samuel 2017.04.05

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