60 room boutique hotel being proposed on old Visitation Academy site

An Annapolis developer James O’Hare and architect Lance Jaccard from DC are developing plans for a boutique hotel and a mix of flats and townhouses on the site of the Visitation Academy on East 2nd St. They described their plans at the regular monthly meeting of the downtown Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC11) at Brewers Alley this evening (Nov 21).

Jim O’Hare of 02 Holdings and Lafayette Financial and architect Lance Jaccard bought the Visitation site in June of this year for $2.75m. The property is owned by O2J Visitation LLC, a joint venture formed to develop the hotel and housing.

Jim O’Hare told the NAC audience of about 50 people that he and his partner Jaccard bought the


Visitation property without any fixed notion of what kind of redevelopment would work. It just looked like “a fantastic opportunity” because of its history and location. It is a “gem” of a historic building, he said.

O’Hare’s, O2 Holdings and Lafayette Financial specialize in historic sites, doing rehabilitation and repurposing of old buildings buildings and infill development. His linkedin entry says:

“Recent development projects include historic renovations of warehouses in Inner Harbor East, Baltimore, the development of townhouses in Patterson Park, Fells Point and Brewers Hill, Baltimore, the development of retail space and apartments in Lewes, Delaware, a retail project in Odenton, Maryland, the Eastport Sail Loft, a mixed-use development in Eastport, Annapolis, and the conversion of the historic Annapolis Rec Center into residential condominiums. Operating businesses include the Red Star Bar & Grill in Baltimore, the Hotel Rodney, a boutique hotel, in Lewes, Delaware, and the Rose & Crown Pub in Lewes. O2/Lafayette holds investment real estate in the Washington/Baltimore area and is a partner in hospitality ventures in Florida and Colorado.”

Red Star Bar & Grill developed by O’Hare in Fells Point Baltimore

O’Hare said the historic tax credits don’t allow the sale of any of the property within 5 years, so the tax code rules out construction of condominium units. Any space has to be rented or leased out.

Office space and commercial is oversupplied, he said. Doing all-residential could run into the objection that it overtaxed parking and local streets. A small hotel would generate fewer trips than residential, he said, because people would come to downtown Frederick to walk around.

O’Hare said they’d looked at the plans for a City-sponsored hotel. But the fact that it was a national brand, a Marriott meant it would be catering to people with different tastes to the Visitation Hotel clientele.

Also at the meeting — though late because of congestion on 270 — was Lance Jaccard OTJ Architects based in Washington DC, O’Hare’s partner and the architect for the project.

The plan is to convert the Academy buildings into hotel rooms priced at an average of about $200/night. Guests would have their cars valet-parked off-site. The old chapel will be preserved but repurposed — we guess as a meeting room or hotel restaurant. They don’t want to mess with the small cemetery on the site.

O’Hare’s hotel in Lewes DE

In addition to the hotel they plan about 30 housing units to be built on vacant land. These will be some mix of townhouses, and flats, or apartments.

Jaccard said they don’t plan to ask for any variances to code. The new housing will be three stories, similar to surrounding houses. Each unit will have two parking spaces on site. They propose access off E2nd, E Church and Chapel Alley.

The schedule is 18 months for design and permitting with a construction start in the second half of 2019. Which means a possible opening late 2020.

They’d be building the hotel and housing at the same time.

NOTE: the first post of this got the ownership of this project wrong. It has been edited to make clear it is a joint venture. Other edits have corrected spelling.


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