To the editor:
Well, quite amazingly, here we are, getting ready to discuss a hotel at the Birdseye site for the third time.
Unlike cheese, wine or whiskey, the same idea does not improve when aged.
So, once again, let's review some basics:
A downtown hotel might be a good idea. But a downtown hotel ought to be downtown, not where it creates conflictual uses with existing marine industrial uses.
An additional risk is that, if a hotel is placed at the Birdseye site, I believe it could become a Club Med kind of enclave and benefit only itself and not all of downtown. A truly downtown hotel, at the Empire site, for example, would have far greater potential for benefiting the city's tax base and all the restaurants and businesses downtown.
What about the other motels and inns on other oceanfront property? They have been contributing to Gloucester's tax base; don't they deserve some loyalty in these difficult times?
Marine Industrial uses have far greater and more long-lasting potential for contributing sustainable jobs and taxes. Let's take the time to attract them.
Intershell, Ocean Crest, and Mortillaro's are all vibrant marine industrial businesses. Why in the world would Gloucester risk undercutting them by putting a fancy hotel across the street? Why in the world would we as a city want to undermine what might come from the recent Maritime Summit by rezoning this critical property?
Some say the hotel would create 100 full-time jobs. How will this hotel in a community like Gloucester operate at capacity year-round, and offer 100 full-time jobs?
I believe that what most hotels offer are low-wage, part-time, no-benefits jobs, except for a few managerial positions. Compare this to marine industrial jobs at places like Motillaro's and Ocean Crest or other vibrant industries like Varian.
Even at $10 an hour, one makes about $20,000 per year. Current cost analysis indicates that one cannot support a family of one adult and one child on that amount anywhere in the U.S.
So, Gloucester, let's give up this hotel nonsense and get on with attracting some more innovative 21st century maritime industries.
Harvard Street, Gloucester