|Richard E. Dover is general manager of Family Pride Corporation, one of the Southeast’s leading preservation companies. Most of the company’s projects have been rehabilitating iconic, historic buildings into assisted living facilities. Here Richard E. Dover answers questions about an ambitious project in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the restoration of the Alexander Inn.
Oceans 2003: Thank you for speaking with us, and welcome.
Richard E. Dover: It’s my pleasure.
Oceans 2003: Local media has reported that plans call for converting the Alexander Inn into an assisted living center. How did this come about?
Richard E. Dover: It’s been in the works for months. We and local officials announced in early May that Family Pride had purchased the Alexander Inn and were planning a historical restoration to the rundown building.
Oceans 2003: Just how historic is the inn?
Richard E. Dover: The Alexander Inn is a significant building in the story of our country. First known as the Guest House, it opened in 1942 and housed many scientists and government officials who worked on the top-secret Manhattan Project here to develop the atomic bomb during Word War II.
Oceans 2003: Has its historic nature been noted before?
Richard E. Dover: The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance (ETPA) has listed the Alexander Inn on the annual East Tennessee’s Endangered Heritage list since 2010.
Oceans 2003: What is the ETPA?
Richard E. Dover: The ETPA is a historic preservation organization and has been a key player in this project from the start.
Oceans 2003: How were they involved with the conditions of the sale?
Richard E. Dover: The agreement includes a preservation easement with ETPA that will ensure the building is protected forever and restored, as much as possible, to its original condition.
Oceans 2003: Is there a federal requirement?
Richard E. Dover: Yes, it’s called a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), arrived at with input from the National Park Service, the Tennessee Historical Commission, the Department of the Interior, and others.
Oceans 2003#: And what does it require?
Richard E. Dover: The MOA requires that the Alexander Inn be restored within a certain timeframe and according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, which will ensure the historic integrity of the building is maintained.
Oceans 2003: Is the ETPA involved in other projects?
Richard E. Dover: The Alexander Inn project is exactly why ETPA was established, and this is a perfect example of the work they will continue to do in East Tennessee.
Oceans 2003: And how have you worked with the community?
Richard E. Dover: We are working with local historians, the City of Oak Ridge, and ETPA to restore the building so it is once again an asset to the community.
Oceans 2003: Were there other preservation groups involved?
Richard E. Dover: The Oak Ridge Revitalization Effort first acquired the building, sought grants, spoke with developers and engineers, organized volunteer work days, and sponsored events to raise awareness and funds to preserve the building.
Oceans 2003: And they settled on your company.
Richard E. Dover: Yes. They worked diligently in trying to save and preserve this historic property and we’re honored that they chose us to do it.
Oceans 2003: So you see it as a public service as well as a business venture?
Richard E. Dover: Family Pride Corporation is both pleased and proud to partner with ETPA, Knox Heritage, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the people of Oak Ridge to save this fragile remaining piece of Oak Ridge’s history.
Oceans 2003: Tell us about your plans.
Richard E. Dover: We plan to transform the Alexander Inn into a state-of-the-art assisted living facility to serve our seniors. We hope to have up to 60 units including an Alzheimer’s wing.
Oceans 2003: Is there anyone else you’d like to acknowledge?
Richard E. Dover: We would like to thank the leadership at the city of Oak Ridge and at ETPA, as well as Knox Heritage for their determination and support in saving the Guest House-Alexander Inn.
Oceans 2003: It’s been a pleasure talking with you.
Richard E. Dover: Thank you.