Construction Begins for Hotel Tower Above Epicentre

- Plans for a 51-story condominium above the Epicentre fell through during the recession, leaving the unfinished project available for developers.

Now Vision Ventures and McKibbon Hotel Management are partnering to build a dual hotel, the first of its kind in charlotte, above existing restaurant and retail space.

Folks watch from the 15th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel as crews begin working on the new hotel tower across the street.  In addition to 300 guestrooms, the joint AC Marriott and Residence Inn will also have a rooftop bar and one two-bedroom luxury suite on the 22nd floor.

“You want to be the first one to lease that suite said John McKibbon, Chairman for McKibbon Management Group.  “It's going to be a fun time there.”

Developers say the hotels will appeal to folks wanting to visit charlotte because of its convenient location in the heart of uptown.

“Just imagine staying in your hotel, using the amenities there, but then you want to go out and stroll for awhile,” said McKibbon.  “We've got bars, restaurants, retail all within a very short walking distance.  Plus if you're working in uptown, you can walk to this hotel.”

But putting a hotel on top of existing buildings, starting with the fifth floor, doesn’t come without a challenge.

 “A lot of work will be done at night so we don't interfere with the users below us and actually the design phase took us over a year to take what was supposed to be a condominium, reshape that, and put a hotel on top,” said McKibbon.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts says she excited for the potential positive impact this project will have on the local economy.

“We know we’re going to get more and more conventions so we know we need more, more rooms,” said Roberts.  “Also love hearing the number of jobs we’ll be creating, not just construction but once they’re operating, all those hospitality jobs.”

The developers plan to be finished with the tower and have it open by the end of 2017.

This will be the first AC hotel in Charlotte, a brand that comes from Europe and is expanding into the U.S. with 60 units planned for development.  It’s the second Residence Inn in Uptown in addition the second one on Mint Street.

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