A long standing dream of UNC Charlotte’s leaders will finally be realized with the construction of a Marriott Hotel and conference center. On August 28, the Charlotte City Council voted unanimously to invest $8 million of tourism taxes towards the project as well as approve rezoning.
The building is intended for research symposia and academic conferences. With 24,000 square feet, 226 rooms and a parking garage, it will accommodate up to 500 people. A conference center like this is typical of major research universities.
The hotel will be established on the 4.7 acres on the corner of North Tryon and J.W. Clay Boulevard already owned by the UNC Charlotte Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the University. It is strategically located by the light rail so that conference attendees can easily access City Center.
“This facility will serve as a new ‘front door’ to the University, providing a welcoming space for generations of 49ers and Charlotteans,” Niles Sorensen, President of the UNC Charlotte Foundation, told Inside UNC Charlotte. “We’ve been planning this for a long time and are eager for it to bring new opportunities for our faculty and alumni to connect to the larger community.”
The $87 million project will mostly be funded by the UNC Charlotte Foundation. The hotel will be owned by the Foundation and operated by Sage Hospitality of Denver, CO. The city will also support the project with $8 million.
The ambitious project is projected to be well worth the investment. It could generate $9 million from taxes in the first seven years while the net proceeds are expected to generate $7 million in the first five years. The hotel and conference center could also add roughly 210 jobs to the University City area, the second largest employment hub of Charlotte.
Chancellor Dubois told Inside UNC Charlotte, “Not only do these facilities serve as important amenities for the alumni and friends of these universities, but they are integral to building and sustaining the strong academic reputations of these institutions.”
The project is expected to begin January 2019 and reach completion by September 2020.