The construction of a planned 20-story hotel above the Carolina Theatre will occur simultaneously with renovations at the historic theatre, with both projects expected to start in mid-2016 and open in 2018, according to executives with Foundation for the Carolinas and Valor Hospitality Partners.
The nonprofit foundation announced yesterday that it had selected Valor to develop the 200-room hotel above the Carolina Theatre. The foundation will lease the air rights to Valor, generating a revenue stream that will support the operation of the Carolina Theatre, which will serve as a convening space for symposia, speakers, panel discussions and documentary films, as well as educational and thought leadership activities.
Laura Smith, executive vice president of the foundation, says the organization received proposals from five developers and narrowed the list down to two firms that were invited to speak with the foundation’s hotel advisory committee. That committee was led by Chris Kearney, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors and CEO of SPX Flow Inc.
“We believe this is going to be a very unique and special property, so we wanted someone that recognized the beauty and the significance of that and came in with something that was unique and not some cookie-cutter hotel,” Kearney says. “(Valor) got exactly what we were looking for, and they’ve had success doing it in other places around the world.”
Less than half an acre in size, the Carolina Theatre property at Tryon and Sixth streets is so tight that it will require one general contractor that can handle the theatre renovation as well as the hotel construction, Smith says.
Euan McGlashan, managing partner at Valor, says the company started doing a lot of preliminary work on the project several months ago, at the beginning of the RFP process with the foundation.
“We were so excited about the opportunity that, without putting the cart before the horse, we actually did start putting a lot of thought and effort and time into what it should look and feel like,” he says. “So we’ve been gearing ourselves up and we were hoping the foundation would pick us.”