A dual-branded hotel development in uptown is scheduled to open in two weeks after facing numerous challenges since the project's inception, including a legal dispute over air rights, a failed condo project leftover on the site and construction delays.
The 22-story AC Hotel and Residence Inn Charlotte City Center above the EpiCentre at 210 E. Trade St. is set to open in late August, according to developer McKibbon Hospitality, though an exact date was not disclosed. The hotels were originally estimated to be complete in late 2017 before the expected completion changed to February of this year, which then got pushed back to this spring. Florida-based McKibbon Hospitality is developing the two hotels in a joint venture with Vision Ventures, a local real estate firm.
Karl Oates, vice president of lifestyle hotels for McKibbon Hospitality, said late Monday that the dual-branded tower is a large project that sits on a complex site.
"Given these factors, some delays were to be expected, and some unexpected issues arose," Oates said, though no specifics on the issues were disclosed. "We worked through these issues and have been working closely with the city to stay on track as we move towards completion."
The dual-branded Marriott hotels include an 184-room AC Hotel — Charlotte's first — and a 116-room Residence Inn as well as a rooftop bar and lounge, Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo, which Asheville restaurateur Peter Pollay is consulting on in partnership with McKibbon. Nuvole is expected to open shortly after the hotels' openings, according to McKibbon. The top floor also includes an independently operated penthouse suite with two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms.
McKibbon and Vision held a "skybreaking" ceremony for the project in January 2016. At that time, the hotels were expected to be finished in late 2017. John McKibbon, chairman of McKibbon, said at the skybreaking that the project was probably "the largest and most complicated" so far for the company, which has done a number of urban hotel projects.
The tower topped out in December 2016, a milestone that signals the end of vertical construction and is usually seen as the halfway point of construction on a real estate development.
The site where the AC Hotel and Residence Inn are under construction faced a number of challenges even before construction began. A lawsuit between Mount Vernon Asset Management and Vision Ventures over air rights above the EpiCentre that alleged fraud was settled in late 2015. And two partially built floors of a failed condo project, 210 Trade, remained on site where the hotel tower was pegged. Gregg McAllister, vice president of development at Vision Ventures, previously said the developers used the already-constructed condo structure for the AC Hotel footprint.