Italian Villa

True, not every old building can be saved.  And true, Lincoln Highway East is as close to an architectural lost cause as any four-mile-long parking lot could be.  But catching up on some old news items, this Intel article from March announcing the planned demolition of the former Italian Villa (2331 Lincoln Highway East) begs a few incredulous comments.

http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/234534 (Article copied below for when the link expires).

To wit:  “Mark A. Magrecki, director of land development with Steckbeck Engineering & Surveying Inc., told supervisors that NBA Hotel LLC wants to update its site to maintain a competitive edge because there are ‘plenty of hotels popping up.’  Magrecki said the owners want to raze the former Italian Villa East restaurant and comedy club and build an 83-room hotel at the site and connect it with Rodeway Inn’s 39-room motel.

Translation: We need another hotel because we have enough hotels already.  Genius.

Another excerpt:  “Magrecki said after a search on the Internet and talking with Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, he couldn’t come up with any records that the dwelling would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.”

Translation: I didn’t read it on the Internet, so it must not be true.  Google uber alles?

And last but not least: “The supervisors, however, still recommended the owners look into somehow reusing materials from the dwelling in the new structure to give it a local flavor.”

Translation:  Don’t lick the bricks.  They taste Amish.

As a preservation approach encouraged by elected officials, this sets a phenomenally misguided precedent.  A mink coat is not a mink.  A bearskin rug is not a bear.  And a few “historic” stones glued to a new motel is not local heritage.

Hotel expansion proposed

At site of Italian Villa in E. Lampeter

Intelligencer Journal, Mar 03, 2009

By LORI VAN INGEN, Staff Writer

East Lampeter Township supervisors on Monday night looked at an early sketch plan for an estimated $7 million project that would create 122 hotel rooms at 2331 Lincoln Highway East.

Mark A. Magrecki, director of land development with Steckbeck Engineering & Surveying Inc., told supervisors that NBA Hotel LLC wants to update its site to maintain a competitive edge because there are “plenty of hotels popping up.”

Magrecki said the owners want to raze the former Italian Villa East restaurant and comedy club and build an 83-room hotel at the site and connect it with Rodeway Inn’s 39-room motel.

The 122 rooms would be operated by two hotel chains — Rodeway Inn and another, yet-to-be-determined chain — but owned by the same company, he said.

The interiors of Rodeway Inn’s current 39 rooms are being refurbished, although “nothing major” is being done to them, Magrecki said.

The 83 new rooms most likely would include some extended-stay rooms, he said.

Between the two hotel areas, a small office and breakfast area would be added, he said.

In a letter, the township engineer expressed concerns regarding an access drive, curbing, excess lot coverage and parking spaces.

Township manager Ralph Hutchison said the township also was concerned that a dwelling on the property, which also would be torn down as part of the plan, might have historic value.

Magrecki said after a search on the Internet and talking with Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, he couldn’t come up with any records that the dwelling would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The supervisors, however, still recommended the owners look into somehow reusing materials from the dwelling in the new structure to give it a local flavor.

Magrecki said it likely would take more than a year to advance the proposal to the point where a formal land-development plan could be presented to the supervisors.

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