Excerpt from Frederick News-Post:

Members of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission voted in September to allow for demolition of the early 20th-century Birely Tannery building as long as proper historic mitigation efforts are performed.

The vote spearheaded a series of workshops now underway with the commission to go over the project’s design details. Commissioners will eventually approve the design and it will move on to the city’s Planning Commission for final approval.

The Historic Preservation Commission met in a workshop with developers Plamondon Hospitality Partners and architects with Bates Architects on Sept. 28 and discussed plans for the tannery site once the building is demolished. A workshop held Oct. 8 addressed plans for rehabilitating the neighboring Frederick Trolley building, which most recently housed The Frederick News-Post, into a retail site. The commission is set to meet again Thursday at a workshop and continue design discussions.

Also running parallel to the Historic Preservation Commission’s efforts are meetings between the project partners, key stakeholders and local groups that have missions related to preservation of cultural resources, and the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development and Maryland Historical Trust. The meetings are required as part of the Maryland Historical Trust Act of 1985’s consultation process, which requires state agencies to consult with the trust on projects receiving assistance. The downtown hotel project is set to receive money from the Department of Housing and Community Development. Representatives from the department formulated the guest list and invited attendees to the first meeting held Wednesday, which was not open to the public.

Sara Luell, the department’s director of communications, said in an email that representatives of 19 organizations attended the meeting.

“The historic significance of the site and the proposed plans for the project were discussed, and time was provided for attendees to ask questions and provide comments,” Luell said in the email.

Luell also said several ideas for mitigating the site were discussed but time ran out before any decisions were made. In turn, she said that another meeting will be scheduled to further the discussion.

Richard Griffin, the city’s economic development director, occupied one of the seats at the table Wednesday, representing the Department of Economic Development. He said after the meeting that roughly 50 people attended with almost every historic preservation entity in the community represented.

“We had a good conversation about what’s being lost and what’s being done,” he said.

One idea that particularly struck him was from one of the attendees who suggested making the hotel a hub for telling the story of Frederick.

“We can tell a story of history and the hotel can be an important part of how that story is told,” Griffin said. “I thought that was a good idea.”

Overall, he said he thought the meeting went well and that a lot of good information was shared.

“It was well-attended, the people who came were good speakers and presented their thoughts in a real positive way,” Griffin said. “We looked forward to and hoped to get to that level of interaction with stakeholders.”