Excelsior Club named one of most endangered historical sites in the nation

A historic club on Beatties Ford Road is now considered one of the 11 most endangered historical places in the nation. It’s the only property in North Carolina to make that list.

The goal is national exposure from making the list will help find a buyer who will preserve the history.

“That corner would never be the same again and it would be a great loss to our city,” said Michael Sullivan, a Preserve Mecklenburg Board Member.

The Excelsior has been a staple in the Washington Heights neighborhood since 1944. Besides being popular among celebrities like James Brown, it served as hot spot for the civil rights movement in Charlotte.

After closing in 2016 the property has fallen into disrepair.

“It’s saddening because you have someone who is considered a leader and a pillar in our community that allowed this to happen. Ultimately if you weren’t going to maintain it you should have sold it to people who will,” said Lawanna Mayfield from Charlotte City Council.

The current owner is State Rep. Carla Cunningham. At last check the property is listed for sale at $1.5 million.

A number of code violations are posted on the door and repairs could be more than $400,000. The need for repairs hasn’t stopped interest from perspective buyers in the community.

“We need to have real conversations with the owner about why have you turned down offers?,” said Mayfield.

“Some of the offers I have been told, I might have taken myself, but she is a business woman and she is looking at things that are necessary to do so,” said the step-daughter of Carla Cunningham.

Carla’s stepdaughter says that despite the overgrown vegetation, broken windows and code violations there is potential. She hopes a group of investors will come forward.

“I know that I, just like the rest of the community, fear that someone will buy and not preserve any of the history that is there,” said Cunningham.

The process to get this property on the list of the 11 most endangered historical places in the nation was expedited because paperwork was filed that could allow The Excelsior to be demolished.