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Letter: Downtown tear-down would be a huge mistake

During a recent Salisbury candidates forum, several candidates suggested tearing the Empire Hotel down or tearing down empty buildings to create parking. Wrong answer!

Downtown doesn’t have a parking problem. It has a walking problem. Parking spaces are valuable. A parking space can be worth up to $500 per day in gross retail sales. A cost-effective solution would be moderate parking enforcement to keep merchants and their employees from parking in two-hour spaces designated for their customers and decks on existing surface parking lots.

The Empire Hotel is actually five buildings with two facades. In the (unlikely) event that this developer can’t pull off redevelopment financing, the Empire could reasonably be broken into three to five separate projects, making it a lot more doable to a broader range of prospective developers.

Downtown Salisbury is a National Register Historic District. The idea of tearing the Empire Hotel down or tearing down any empty buildings for parking is yet another lack of imagination and disrespect for Salisbury’s rich historic architectural assets.

— Michael Young

Salisbury

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