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Posted August 22, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Taylor Hotel repairs scheduled to begin

Ervin Construction selected to stabilize historic property on city’s downtown mall

By James Heffernan — jheffernan@nvdaily.com WINCHESTER — Its future remains up in the air, but work to begin stabilizing the old Taylor Hotel should get under way next week.

The property’s developer, Lafayette Plaza LLC, had until Friday to submit a revised plan to local zoning officials to rehabilitate the tattered 1840s building on the Loudoun Street Mall or the city would take action to declare it blighted.

According to a letter from Winchester Zoning and Inspections Administrator Vincent Diem to property manager Denver Quinnelly dated Thursday, Quinnelly has selected Ervin Construction Corp. to remedy the nine unsafe conditions outlined in a July 28 report from local engineering firm Structural Concepts Inc.

The emergency repair work, which requires a city building permit, is scheduled to begin by Wednesday, the letter states, and must be completed no later than Sept. 26. A third-party inspection from a licensed Virginia engineer will also be required upon completion of the work, it states.

Both Diem and Quinnelly were unavailable for comment Friday, but Dave Ervin, president and CEO of Ervin Corp., confirmed that his company is under contract to proceed with the improvements “as soon as we get permission.”

Ervin said the work will involve mostly stabilizing the property’s partial roof, walls and balcony, and should be completed within 30 days.

Ervin Construction is experienced with historic preservation and restoration projects, he said.

“It’s important to Mr. Quinnelly that the city not tear down the building because obviously it has historic significance,” he said.

Lafayette Plaza LLC bought the property at 119-129 N. Loudoun St. in 2007, with plans to convert it into a mix of upscale shops and condominiums. Soon after, the building’s roof collapsed. The structure still sits vacant, and in March it was deemed unsafe by the city fire marshal.

After discussions with Winchester officials earlier this month about the blight issue, Quinnelly recommended razing two additions to the property and replacing them with a new building to connect to the front of the historic hotel, which would get a facelift.

But his plans, including a source of funding for the project, were called into question.

According to the letter, the city has agreed to accept a guarantee from Quinnelly’s lender, Springfield Financial Co., that will allow the spot blight abatement plan to go forward.

He now has until Aug. 28 to submit a revised plan for the property.

Staff writer Alex Bridges contributed to this report.

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