Controversy over proposed hotel at Fort Lee

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) - If approved the hotel would stand 15 stories high. Inside, a thousand rooms built on 23 acres at Fort Lee.

"It's needed because of an influx of students that are coming to Fort Lee -- as you know Fort Lee is growing by leaps and bounds and we need something to support those students," said Craig Turner, Fort Lee Lodging Office Manager.

The hotel will be outfitted with a laundry room, fitness center, restaurant and more.

"They won't have to venture far for breakfast, lunch, or dinner," said Turner.

And that's part of the problem according to some local business owners near the post - who rely heavily on soldiers as customers. They say their concerned the hotel would hurt their business.

"Businesses large and small are going to be impacted by this and there's been no economic assessment," said Linas Kojelis, of the Greater Tri-Cities Hospitality Coalition.

More than a hundred business owners have united to form the Greater Tri-Cities Hospitality Coalition.

"The most important thing is a new level of dialogue, a new level of respect and dialogue with the business community," Kojelis said.

The group wants Fort Lee to extend its public comment period on the project. The installation already extended it for 30 days giving residents until October 7 to comment on the impacts on the project.

A similar request was made by from Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner - along with Randy Forbes, to the Secretary of the Army. Today, it was denied.

"We will prepare a public comment by the deadline which is October 7 but it will have more questions that comments," said Kojelis.

Construction on the proposed facility is expected to start this year and end in 2012. A Fort Lee representative will be at Hopewell's city council meeting Tuesday night to address the proposed facility.

The meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, which is located on North Main Street. The public is encouraged to attend.

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