Auburn City Council unanimously approves Wittel Dorm to boutique hotel project

AUBURN, Ala.- Tuesday night, Auburn City Council unanimously approved the conditional use for the historic Wittel Dormitory to become a boutique hotel.

The plans call for it to be a 40 bed boutique hotel. Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau President, John Wild said that this would be the first of its kind in the city.

"It's always interesting to say that you're adding something that's new, that's different," Wild said. "Travelers flock to something that is new, and especially in locations that they think are better than maybe where they had been staying before. So, there'll be a big buzz."

Ward 5 City Councilor Lynda Tremaine grew up in Auburn and knew members of the Wittel family. Councilwoman Tremaine said her sister-in-law, Pat Wittel Tremaine's  grandparents built the house in the 40s. She said Wittel Tremaine lives in Alaska now, but said it is an honor that someone respects the beauty of the building so much.

Councilwoman Tremaine feels that this project will have a tremendous impact on the area.

"I think it's a place that's going to entice more people to come," Councilwoman Tremaine said. "The location, a block away from the campus, perfect. I can see parents who are coming to visit their children staying here and loving staying in this location, and the uniqueness of it. It's not just another hotel. We're seeing more hotels being built in Auburn. With Auburn's growth, we need more hotel rooms."

The group Keep Auburn Lovely has been fully on board with the project, and said it is aligned with the groups goals and values.

The city said now that the project has been approved by council, the applicant will need to be granted a variance by the Board of Zoning Adjustment to allow the site to satisfy its required parking offsite.


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