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Owner of King George Inn asks zoning board to allow demolition of iconic building

Plans for hotel, bank, drug store at Lehigh Co. location

Hotel, drug store, bank proposed at King George Inn location

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - The end may be near for the historic King George Inn on the outskirts of Allentown.

It's been standing since the 1750's, and it's on the National Register of Historic Places.

But the owner says he couldn't make a go of it and now he wants to tear it down and it sounds like there's no "knight in shining armor" to come to the King's defense.

People testified about the possible future of the property located at Cedar Crest and Hamilton boulevards in South Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co.

It's a deal that can't go forward unless the King George Inn comes down.

Potential owner of Hotel Hamilton LLC, wants to build a bank, drug store, and 100-room hotel on four properties, including the King George Inn.

"I don't think it's re-saleable as a restaurant, as a fine dining restaurant or any other place.," said Clifford McDermott, owner of the King George Inn.

McDermott told the board if business was good, he would have kept running the historic restaurant, but from 2005 until the King George Inn closed in 2012 he kept losing money.

"It was a steady decline over 80 months," added McDermott. "Never beating the previous year's income."

McDermott says he tried to keeping changing the image of the King George Inn in order to save the business but now he is at a point where he needs to sell.

"I depleted my, in this order, my life insurance, my IRA," said McDermott.

No one objected to demolishing the building, but five people did ask the board or owners if they could find a way to save a piece of the historic building.

"With the 1756 historic building there is some grandfathering for the variance that they are seeking relief, that if that building was possibly incorporated into the new hotel which is often done," said South Whitehall Township resident, Nancy Lloyd.

So far the potential new owners have not talked about incorporating the King George Inn with new construction.

A petition to save the King George has surfaced on Facebook.

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