By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
October 16, 2012
“Back to the Drawing Board for Hotel Cape Charles,” read the Wave’s headline for September 19. The story reported hotel developer David Gammino’s efforts to persuade the Cape Charles Historic District Review Board to approve already completed renovations and allow the hotel to receive a permanent occupancy permit.
With over 1,000 reads to date, the story is the most popular in the Wave’s short history.
In a nutshell, Gammino pled guilty to changing the hotel design after the Board approved his earlier plan. He had originally planned to spend $500,000 renovating the old hotel, but later decided the result would be nothing special. Only a unique property would make the hotel a “destination,” Gammino told the Board in September.
And so he ended up spending nearly three times as much to create a building that has received rave reviews in the Washington Post and USA Today. Now, the hotel needs $30,000 monthly revenue to survive.
Board chairman Russ Dunton told Gammino that adding wrought iron railings to the hotel balcony’s glass walls would help the hotel blend in with the rest of Mason Avenue.
Gammino responded that he could not convince his partner to replace $60,000 worth of glass with wrought iron to create an “illusion” that the hotel was historic.
Gammino noted that when he bought the hotel it had vinyl windows and plastic doors — all grandfathered in and requiring no approval from the Board. [Read more…]