No new vinyl widows for Prince Charles Hotel

March 11, 2009 3:11:43 PM PDT
A battle over window frames could spell financial doom for one of Fayetteville's oldest landmarks.The owner of the Prince Charles Hotel in downtown says city officials won't let him replace old wooden windows in the 84-year-old building with new vinyl frames.

The city says its a matter of historical accuracy, but the owner says it's about money and staying in business.

John Chen says he's just trying to modernize history, not change it. But for that to happen, Chen says the City of Fayetteville or the government has to meet him in the middle.

The Prince Charles Hotel was once one of the state's most elegant hotels, but now it's showing its age with peeling paint and rotting wood.

Chen purchased the hotel at a bankruptcy auction in 2007. Now, he's trying to fix up the property. He wants to replace the 400 wooden windows with more modern and efficient vinyl windows.

The city's historic preservation committee says Chen can't make the improvements because the new windows won't look right.

Bruce Daws, Historic Properties director, says the wooden widows are character defining. "When you change them -- the profile, the look and style -- it alters the appearance of the building."

Chen says repairing and repainting the old wooden windows would cost about 300 percent more than vinyl windows. He says once all of the windows are replaced, no one will notice the difference.

Chen believes replacing the windows does not effect the historical significance. But it's not a matter of personal opinion.

All downtown property owners have to abide by the historical guidelines. Daws says Chen was aware of those guidelines when he bought the Prince Charles.

Chen says he will appeal to the Board of Adjustments for an exception. If he's turned down, he says he will go to court. A hearing is set for April 20.


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