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OPINION: Holiday Inn hotel in Bristol has gone from opportunity to eyesore

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Hotel Collapse

Members of the Bristol Tennessee Fire Department look over the damage to the Holiday Inn and Suites Hotel under construction on State Street on Sept. 26, 2020.

To someone just visiting State Street, the purple-colored, half-finished structure on the hill above downtown looks like a sign of progress — a brand-new hotel under construction to bring more tourists to enjoy the Twin City.

A closer look at the site reveals evidence of the building’s partial collapse more than year ago. Part of the structure is missing. Electrical conduit is bent to the ground, and additional supports are in place to stabilize what’s left of the building.

Since the initial collapse, the site has remained largely static. Metal and concrete materials, broken and twisted from the collapse, have been placed in piles. The purple gypsum board on the exterior has faded in the sun, and weeds have grown around the exterior.

By now, the hotel should have been providing more rooms downtown for people to stay. Visitors to town would have a great sightline right down the heart of State Street to the Bristol sign. Putting a hotel on that site was a great idea. It’s too bad something went wrong that caused a collapse and placed the project in jeopardy.

The half-finished hotel is quickly moving from a sign of progress to an unwelcome eyesore as the company in charge of the project has not revealed what the next steps for the once, and maybe future, Holiday Inn may be. A year after the collapse, townspeople and officials are all wondering what the next step for the proposed hotel will be and when that next step may be taken.

Hotel officials would not return calls to reporter Joe Tennis last week when he inquired about future plans on the site. Apparently, the Bristol, Tennessee, codes administrator and city manager are also being left in the dark concerning the future of the half-finished purple behemoth.

Presumably the next steps are tied up in insurance issues and litigation. Hopefully, all of that gets resolved soon and a timetable for either moving the project forward or starting over is established.

Until that happens, it would be nice if those in control of the property could provide city officials with an update on where the situation stands.

The hotel is taking up a prominent place in the State Street landscape. Another year of a half-finished hotel that is quickly becoming an eyesore would not be a welcome sight.


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