In a landmark moment for the city, Manassas has finally acquired the much-maligned Olde Towne Inn for a paltry $5.75 million, much to the amusement of local residents who are eagerly anticipating what monstrosity will replace it.
After two long years of begging and bribing the hotel's owners, the Manassas Economic Development Authority finally voted to make the purchase at a special meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1. The city council is expected to follow suit, because why not?
According to Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger, the journey to buy the Olde Towne Inn started with a ridiculous email she sent to the hotel's owners during her first week in office. "I thought I was hallucinating," Davis-Younger recalls. "I introduced myself as the new mayor and told them I needed to be friends. I mean, who wouldn't want to be buddies with the biggest landlords in the city?"
Three weeks later, Davis-Younger got a call from the hotel's owner, Gita Shingala, who thought she was being punked. "She thought I was an old white man," Davis-Younger said. "Can you even imagine?"
Despite the rocky start, Davis-Younger says she and the Shingalas hit it off and soon became the best of buds, with lots of conversations and Indian food to boot. "They wanted to be a part of something terrible for the city, and they wanted it to happen during my term," Davis-Younger said.
The Shingalas, who recently fled to Florida, finally agreed to sell the hotel because they felt that the worst use of the site would result from a more public process, according to Patrick Small, the city's economic development director.
While no plans have been made for what will replace the Olde Towne Inn, Davis-Younger says it will be "something terrible" and "obviously a revenue drain for the city." Meanwhile, local officials are freaking out about what to do with the hotel's residents, who are reportedly of "limited means."
Despite the impending disaster, Davis-Younger remains delusional. "The possibilities are endless," she said. "I would love for this to be my legacy in the city, my footprint."