A ribbon-cutting ceremony has been scheduled for Thursday evening at The Alexander Guest House, a historic hotel converted into an assisted living center.
The ceremony is scheduled from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, November 5. The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 5:45 p.m., according to the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.
“Following this ribbon-cutting, please plan to attend an open house,” organizers said. “We hope you’ll join us to celebrate.”
The Alexander Guest House, which has 64 apartments, is located at 210 East Madison Road in Oak Ridge.
Preserving the former Alexander Inn had been a dream for years. In September, Rick Dover of Dover Development of East Tennessee, said the two-year, $8 million construction and renovation project was almost finished.
One future resident, Jean Stone of Oak Ridge, said during a media tour in September: “I think they’ve done a remarkable job of restoring it to its grandeur. Once I saw what they’re doing here, I wanted to come here. I think it will be a lovely place to live. It’s absolutely tremendous.”
The historic two-story hotel was built as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II, and top scientists and dignitaries once stayed there.
But it hadn’t been used since the 1990s, and the long-vacant hotel had fallen into disrepair. Historic preservationists including the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association lobbied to save the property for years. And Dover had looked at it a few times over a decade. But he couldn’t make the numbers work.
But a $500,000 grant announced by the U.S. Department of Energy three years ago changed the math. The grant went to the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance, which used it to buy the Alexander Inn and stabilize it until the hotel could be transferred to a private developer.
Dover Development, which was formerly Family Pride Corporation, announced its proposal to convert the hotel into an assisted living center in September 2012, and bought the property in May 2013.
Dover said prospective residents are now welcome to visit for a tour.
He said the Alexander Guest House will have an 18-unit first-floor memory care wing for residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Alexander Inn was built during World War II, when Oak Ridge raced to help build the world’s first atomic weapons as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. Guests who once stayed at the two-story hotel included General Leslie Groves, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi.
Once known as the Guest House, the Alexander Inn was one of the first Manhattan Project buildings, and it opened in August 1943.
Now, the Alexander Guest House could become part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park approved by Congress in December. The property is listed on the National Historic Register as part of the Oak Ridge historic district.
See more photos and information from the September tour here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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