For 50 years, the two-story motel at Ninth and Tryon streets offered travelers rooms on the edge of uptown, even as it became increasingly incongruous amid growing office towers and luxury apartment complexes.
On Wednesday, developers and uptown leaders gathered to celebrate the demolition of the former Days Inn to make way for a second SkyHouse apartments tower. The first SkyHouse tower, a block north at 10th and North Tryon streets, is expected to be finished early next summer, a 24-story, $63 million apartment complex with 336 units.
The motel was built in 1964, property records show. It was used as a set in the 1994 movie “Nell,” starring Jodie Foster as a young woman raised alone in an isolated cabin. Known most recently as the City Center Inn, officials said its demolition opens up the possibility of transforming North Tryon, which has grown more slowly than South Tryon.
“This represents a host of new opportunities for the North Tryon corridor,” said Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners.
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At a CCCP board meeting last week, Smith’s announcement of the impending demolition drew applause, and the crowd gathered Wednesday cheered while watching a backhoe rip down the motel’s second floor. Developers broke out cigars and puffed as they watched.
Novare Group, the lead developer, has said it has arranged financing for SkyHouse II and could start construction in mid-2015. When complete, the complexes are expected to draw about 1,000 new residents and could include up to 30,000 square feet of retail space.
Co-developer Grubb Properties is working to attract a grocer to the site, which would be the second full-service grocer uptown in addition to the Harris Teeter at Sixth and Poplar streets.
“I think this is going to become one of the most exciting parts of the city to live,” said CEO Clay Grubb.
Mecklenburg County property records show SkyHouse Charlotte II acquired the parcel the motel sits on in early November for $8.6 million.
“The ‘before and after’ here will be transformative,” Novare Group President James Borders said in a statement.