Aloft Hotel near NCSU will replace Sadlack's, Schoolkids Records

dbracken@newsobserver.comOctober 7, 2013 

— Construction of a new 135-room boutique hotel across from the N.C. State University Bell Tower will begin in the second quarter of next year.

The hotel, which is scheduled to open in mid-2015, will be part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s Aloft brand, the company announced Monday.

The project will replace a Raleigh landmark, Sadlack’s Heroes, as well as a retail center that is home to Schoolkids Records. Sadlack’s will close by the end of the year, but its owner announced last month that she had acquired The Berkeley Cafe in downtown Raleigh.

NCSU’s endowment spent several years acquiring the 1.3-acre site across from the Bell Tower. Two years ago the university selected Bell View Partners of Raleigh and The Bernstein Cos. of Washington to develop the project.

Plans call for two retail spaces on the ground floor facing Hillsborough Street. The second floor will be the lobby of the hotel, with 98 parking spaces behind the building.

A 55-foot sculpture created by Thomas Sayre, the Raleigh artist behind the convention center’s shimmer wall, will also be featured.

“We really worked hard to figure out how to respect the Bell Tower and do something that was good for the university and for Hillsborough Street,” said Mark Andrews, a partner with Bell View.

This is the second Aloft Hotel announced in the Triangle in the past two weeks. A 134-room Aloft Hotel is to be built between the Durham Performing Arts Center and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in the American Tobacco Campus. That hotel is also expected to open in mid-2015. The Triangle’s first Aloft Hotel opened in Chapel Hill in 2010.

“Because this is a progressive, new and exciting hotel, we thought it was perfect for this location,” Andrews said of the brand.

Construction of the hotel is the latest redevelopment activity to occur along Hillsborough Street, which was given a $10 million makeover by the city several years ago.

A new apartment complex recently opened at the corner of Hillsborough and Morgan streets, while further west several student housing projects are either under construction or in the planning stages.

This summer North Hills developer John Kane announced that he had taken over a student apartment and retail project planned for the entire block between Friendly Drive and Concord Street.

The Aloft Hotel across from the Bell Tower will be just blocks from the 187-room DoubleTree Hotel on Hillsborough Street.

Andrews said the location is ideal for both visiting the university or interacting with the businesses along Hillsborough Street.

“Once you park your car there, you’ll be able to walk up and down the street and interact with the university,” he said.

Bracken: 919-829-4548; Twitter: @brackendavid

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