Way back when, a 50-story condo tower was planned as part of the Epicentre development. Then, the Great Recession happened (as well as some very poor management and condo evaluation) and we were left with a few floors of exposed concrete.
Fast forward to 2015 and the concrete and rebar is still sitting there, unused and withering away. However, hope comes forward in the form of a 21-story (above existing Epicentre base) hotel being developed by MHG Hotels.
What is it?
Standing at approximately 317 ft tall (225 ft on top of the existing Epicentre base, which changes height depending on where you measure) this hotel will go directly where the existing exposed concrete is now (back corner of Epicentre at Trade and the Light Rail). Currently it is being listed as a Marriott property dual-brand AC Hotel and Residence Inn hotel however, there’s an interesting story there (yes, both of these brands owned by Marriott). Side note: They added floors, height and rooms since the project was initially announced.
Since there is already a Residence Inn in Uptown, you may ask, “why the heck do we need another one?” I relayed that same question to the developers (McKibbon Hotel Group) and they avoided the question.
That being said, the project was recently delayed and my guess is that they’re picking another Marriott brand (although it’s slim pickings – we pretty much have every Marriott brand in Uptown as it is).
The reevaluation of brands is pure speculation, but I really hope this is the case because I think it would be a huge letdown to have two of the same hotel brands less than a mile away from each other. Personally, I would love to see a Renaissance Inn paired with the AC Hotel because it would create a nice mix of upscale and boutique.
Why do you care?
There’s some good and some bad to this project. Let’s start with the bad.
The building is just downright ugly.
This goes back to a major issue griping a lot of Charlotte residents: beige. Would it kill some of these developers to use a little color? It is relatively standard Charlotte beige with not many distinguishing features, so I hope that the delay is also caused by a bit of a redesign, or at least the addition of some color.
On the good side of things, we are finally going to remove that scar of the existing exposed concrete. It may not be a 50-story building but it is something and will add to a great ‘enclosed’ feel at Rooftop 210. This is a huge win for the Epicentre.
My favorite part of this project is the addition of a ton of urban public space along Trade Street. Approximately 1700 sqft of space will line Trade complete with trees, benches and tables. Any addition of public space is a good thing and this should definitely make the Epicentre look more inviting from this part of Trade Street. This is a big addition and definitely not to be overlooked.
Uptown is seeing a surge in public space and will only help to further the city as a canopy filled “walkable” city.
AC Hotel is a new boutique brand and all the existing ones have some nice bars. I am hoping we get a swanky “hotel bar” with this project that will give a reason to go to this back side of the Epicentre.
When can you use it?
No timeline has been set yet, but they are scheduled to begin construction this year. A tower crane will be constructed on the back side (Light Rail side) of the Epicentre, so add that to the list of cranes coming to Uptown.
I will continue to track this story and update as it develops.