Alexander Inn stabilized and ready for rehab

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Oak Ridge’s Alexander Inn, historically known as the Guest House, has been stabilized and is prepared for rehabilitation.

The occasion was marked with an official groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month.

Family Pride Corp., which has led successful projects in Loudon, Lenoir City and Knoxville, is in charge of the rehabilitation.

The company plans to transform the Manhattan Project-era hotel into a state-of-the-art assisted-living facility.

Rick Dover, manager for Family Pride, is working with area historians, the city of Oak Ridge and East Tennessee Preservation Alliance to restore the building.

“The Guest House-Alexander Inn is a significant building in the story of our country,” Dover said. “It occupies an important place, both physically and historically, in Oak Ridge. Family Pride Corp. is both pleased and proud to partner with ETPA, Knox Heritage, Department of Energy, Tennessee Historical Commission and the people of Oak Ridge to save this fragile remaining piece of Oak Ridge’s history.”

Dover said the city and its industrial development board stepped up with a payment in lieu of taxes for infrastructure improvements in and around the facility, access improvements and environmental assistance.

The transaction includes a preservation easement with East Tennessee Preservation Alliance that will ensure the building is preserved for future generations.

The Alexander Inn has been on the Alliance’s annual East Tennessee’s Endangered Heritage list since 2010.

“The Alexander Inn project is exactly why ETPA was established,” Alliance President Scott Brooks said, “and this is a perfect example of the work we will continue doing in East Tennessee.”

In November 2011, the DOE convened stakeholders for the demolition of the East Tennessee Technology Park, historically known as K-25, where uranium was processed for the Manhattan Project.

Since the building was a contributing historic structure, DOE had to offset the loss of the building by creating a comprehensive mitigation package to ensure the building’s legacy will survive beyond the demolition.

One part of the Memorandum of Agreement allocated a $500,000 grant to East Tennessee Preservation Alliance for the $350,000 purchase and $150,000 partial stabilization of the Alexander Inn.

“There are a lot of people who worked tirelessly to develop a comprehensive plan to commemorate the long and rich history of the former K-25 site,” said Sue Cange, deputy manager for the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. “The stabilization of the Alexander Inn is a tangible success from all of that hard work, and it’s exciting to see the progress.”

The Memorandum of Agreement process included input from the National Park Service, the Tennessee Historical Commission, National Trust for Historic Preservation, city of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Heritage Preservation Association.

It requires the Alexander Inn to be restored within a certain timeframe and according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation that ensures the historic integrity of the building is maintained. Additionally, the Alliance’s preservation easement will protect the building from future potential demolition efforts.

East Tennessee Preservation Alliance works to protect places and structures with historic or cultural significance in Roane, Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Scott, Sevier and Union counties.

To get involved with the Alliance’s advocacy efforts, call 865-523-8008 or visit www.etpaonline.org.