Save the King George Inn by incorporating the building into the commercial plans for the site, a preservationist told about 50 people who gathered Thursday to discuss strategies to preserve the historic building at Cedar Crest and Hamilton boulevards in South Whitehall.
Erin Hammerstedt, a field representative for Preservation Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting historically and architecturally significant resources, told the group that developer Atul Patel should rehab the building, according to lehighvalleylive.com.
Patel, of Hotel Hamilton LLC., wants to tear down the 257-year-old building, a former Burger King and Carvel ice cream store to build a bank, restaurant and drug store on the site. The original plan included a 26,000-foot hotel but was revised in August.
The plan now calls for an 11,000-square-foot, 381-seat restaurant with a drive-through and outdoor seating, and reduces the size of a drug store from 14,000 square feet to 11,000 square feet.
Patel proposed salvaging stones from the razed King George to build a wall around a bank he wants to build in its place, and to erect a plaque that would recognize the building's historical significance.
State Rep. Robert Freeman, (D-Northampton) was among the supporters who attended the meeting at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown.
More than 2,000 people have signed a Moveon.org petition that was created earlier this year to save the inn.
The King George Inn, built in 1756, closed last year as a restaurant. The landmark structure has had a storied history, serving weary travelers as a crossroads tavern even before the Revolutionary War. The building was designated a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.