Construction starting on new hotel tower atop EpiCentre

Rendering by BB+M Architecture of the planned hotel at the EpiCentre
Rendering by BB+M Architecture of the planned hotel at the EpiCentre

Work is starting on a new 22-story hotel planned to be built atop the EpiCentre, the developers said Thursday.

The dual-branded tower will feature two hotels totaling 300 rooms: AC Hotel by Marriott and a Residence Inn. The project, set to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2017, will feature rooftop space and first-level retail space for rent.

“The development of this site into an attractive and dynamic dual-branded tower injects an immediate boost of energy and economic momentum to this area of uptown Charlotte,” said Paul Picarazzi, principal of Vision Ventures. Vision Ventures is working on the project with McKibbon Hotel Group, which will manage the hotel after its completion.

The 116-room Residence Inn will occupy the top of the tower, offering suite-style and extended-stay rooms. The 184-room AC Hotel, a European brand Marriott is bringing to the U.S., will occupy the lower part.

Cleveland Construction has been picked as the project’s construction manager. Preliminary site work, including safety preparation, is starting in the next few weeks, with actual construction on the building set to start before the end of the year.

“This project is a true collaboration between the city and our development team to bring new and exciting life to this location with strategic design and planning that not only complements Charlotte’s skyline, but also maximizes the potential of the site,” said John McKibbon, chairman of McKibbon Hotel Group, in a statement.

“This dual hotel adds to the supply of needed inventory as we work to attract conventions, meetings and events,” said Charlotte Center City Partners President Michael Smith.

The EpiCentre site currently has an Aloft hotel, a Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand.

Vision Ventures and Mount Vernon Asset Management bought the EpiCentre’s $94 million construction loan in 2010 after the original developer, Afshin Ghazi, lost control of the property in foreclosure. A planned tower atop the center had never been built. Last year, CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based firm, bought the EpiCentre for $130.5 million. Vision Ventures and Mount Vernon kept the air rights for the tower.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo