Sunday, November 9, 2008

Please come to Boltwood...

And you don't even have to be the number one fan of the man from Tennessee.

11:30 AM

So tonight marks the final moments of operation for a downtown legend, linchpin, anchor, or…just plain old icon. The Lord Jeff Inn and Boltwood Tavern expire tonight after a couple generations of serving the general public from that ornate, prime, mid-town center location.

While I’m not a big fan of business run by non-profits or government, the venerable Lord Jeff--owned by tax-exempt Amherst College but always kept on the tax rolls—earned my respect.

Unlike the Campus Center Hotel, owned by Umass (or I should say us taxpayers) The Jeff at least, always tried to survive under private sector conditions.

And now, due to forces above their control… Not a good thing. Bad for Amherst taxpayers who have to pick up the property tax slack and certainly horrible for the image of owner Amherst College, arguably the number one ranked Liberal Arts College in America.

According to an April 13,2007 Amherst Bulletin article (yeah, appropriately enough, a Friday): Tony Marx, the president of Amherst College, called the inn "a beachhead in the center of town" and admitted it is "not the magnet it could be."

Yeah Tony--and we know the historic importance of a ‘beachhead’. What if Canadian and US forces surrendered those prime beachheads on D-day because the cost was so significant? Kira would be studying German or French today, rather than Chinese.

Let’s hope Tony appears tonight for the Irish wake and buys a round (or two).


ARHS '76 said...

In the immortal words of General MacArthur, the Lord Jeff Inn said:

"I shall return"

Giving sustaining hope to all who want to swim at the beachhead, once again... at sometime in the future.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, MacArthur was fine in WW11 (although Roosevelt would have felt better if he said "WE shall return") but what an arrogant useless doddering old ass
he was in Korea.

(Sorry, the History major in me took over.)

Yes I know, the Lord Jeff renovation is only "temporarily on hold" because of the economic meltdown.

And now with President Obama at the helm, the economy will turn around and Amherst College will get the usual generous return on their $1 BILLION + endowment and the Lord Jeff renovations will proceed.

Or not.

ARHS '76 said...

They lost $400 million in the economic meltdown.

They started a capital campaign drive for $425 million last week. Do their alumni have THAT MUCH money?

When the market gets back to pre-crash levels they'll be over $2 B. Then they'll spend $20 m putting a new face and guts on the LJI.

LarryK4 said...

Yes the do have that much money.

For instance they could afford to buy that building in downtown Amherst for 2.3 times the assessed value ($1 mill) and take it off the tax rolls forever.

Hell, when they first announced the renovation project last year it was only $5 million. Why not go back that plan?

Xenos said...

As a Williams Grad, let me assure you, a decent subset of Amherst grads can easily pool spare assets to come up with 420 million dollars for the capital campaign. It is a smaller group than it would have been just a year ago, but this is doable with the right support and favors from the Marx administration.

The only problem is that the Marx administration may well be loathe to offer the needed support and favors.