BUILDING A HOTEL in Glen Burnie might have seemed the height of folly not long ago. Who in his right mind would travel to Glen Burnie, Maryland's quintessential example of the worst of unplanned suburban commercial sprawl? Then again, 30 years ago, who would have thought Baltimore's grimy Inner Harbor would become a tourist destination, attracting tens of thousands of people every weekend?
Glen Burnie will never become an Orlando or Las Vegas or even a Baltimore, but businessman Thomas E. Stuehler is on the right track. If the county wants to make Glen Burnie one of Anne Arundel's true town centers, a hotel and conference center would be a necessity. It would draw people into the town, attract other businesses and stimulate urban-oriented development.
Only minutes from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, a Glen Burnie hotel and conference center could serve some of the millions of business, government and academic travelers who pass through the airport each year en route to meetings in the region.
Mr. Stuehler, president of La Fontaine Bleu, believes he can snag some of the business. The 3.5 acres the La Fontaine Bleu catering hall occupies has plenty of space for a high-rise hotel.
Many hurdles must be overcome. Although Mr. Stuehler has letter of agreement from Radisson Hotels Worldwide, he has not obtained financing for the proposed $17 million, 150-room hotel. He also needs county approval of his plans, to be submitted early next year. If everything goes according to schedule, the summer of 2000 would be the earliest the hotel might open.
Glen Burnie has long suffered because of its bad image. Mr. Stuehler's hotel, if successful, could change perceptions, just as Baltimoreans now think much differently about the Inner Harbor.
Pub Date: 11/23/98