On Wednesday, the Zoning Board of Appeals accepted an application for a use variance for 601 Union Street, the Italian villa at the south end of Sixth Street that was constructed between 1845 and 1847 as a private residence and was for decades, from 1936 to 2003, the Hudson Elks Lodge.
Attorney Andy Howard, who represented the applicants at the ZBA meeting, argued that the building has not been used as a residence since 1936, and the city's Central Commercial District is just across the street. He called the building special and unique and told the ZBA the applicants wanted to create "an upscale, respectful boutique hotel that would honor the legacy of the building." (The building was constructed from a design by Richard Upjohn that appears in A. J. Downing's 1850 book, The Architecture of Country Houses.) Howard maintained that converting the building into apartments would not be economically feasible.
The issue of parking, which has been a concern of the Planning Board in its review of recent hotel projects, will not be a problem for this hotel. The building is situated on 4.1 acres of land, and there is ample space for guest parking on site.
The ZBA will hold a public hearing on the application on Wednesday, March 16, at 6:00 p.m.
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