Owners of the historic Maryland Inn in Annapolis are planning a $3.5 million restoration of the inn and two other historic structures to recreate their colonial appearances and functions.
The restoration of the Reynolds Tavern, which served George Washington and more recently housed Bicentennial offices, and the home of Gov. Calvert, Maryland's second provincial governor, depends on approval by Anne Arundel County officials. A public hearing on the project was scheduled to be held last night.
The restoration would be done totally with private funds.
The planned restoration "intrigues me," said part owner Paul Pearson. "It will not only satisfy the need for more hotel rooms, but create another attraction for Annapolis."
The inn, known as a gathering place for members of the state legislature, lobbyists, reporters and political hangers-on, recently has faced competition from the Annapolis Hilton, which was built on the Waterfront. But Pearson said the more than 200-year-old inn had an 80 percent occupancy rate last year and 83 percent so far this month.
Two years ago Pearson, other members of his family and 10 investors who own the inn, offered 783 shares of stock in the corporation at $1,275 a share. Proceeds of the sale were to be used to pay off a $570,000 debt and continue restoration of the hotel.
But Pearson said yesterday no buyers responded and he withdrew the offer. Pearson said he now hopes to finance restoration through loans from private institutions at a low interest rate made possible if the county approves enabling legislation allowing tax exemptions for the lender.
The project, planned for completion by the spring of 1979, would be known as The Historic Inns of Annapolis and would include the Maryland Inn and two other structures that stand in Annapolis' historic district as virtual shells, Pearson said.
The Reynolds Tavern, built in 1947 by a hatter named Reynolds, is a three-story brick building with a basement that will include five guest rooms, eight additional sleeping quarters constructed on an adjacent parking lot and a restaurant tavern.
The structure, owned from 1811 to 1936 by the Farmers National Bank, was the counnty's first public library from 1936 until 1974.
The Calvert house, built in the early 1700s, was originally a one-story brick structure, but when Annapolis Mayor Abraham Claude moved in during the 1800s, he added three stories on top, Pearson said.
The Calvert house will be restored to include 33 hotel rooms and conference and banquet space to house 400 persons, Pearson said.
All rooms will either overlook the state capitol building, the oldest state capitol in continuous use in the country, or the gardens of a nearby historic mansion, Pearson said.
All the new hotel rooms will be furnished in antiques, Pearson said, which is included in the $3.5 million cost.
The project also includes continued restoration of the inn itself, which was built on Church Square in the late 1770s at the same time the state capitol was being built a block away.
The most recent addition to the inn was built in the 1880s when a top floor, porches and lobby were added. The inn has undergone sporadic renovations since then.