Neighbors got a first look last week at designs for a new hotel on Hillsborough Street across from the N.C. State Belltower.
Developer Joe Whitehouse met with the Hillsborough Citizens Advisory Council to show off plans for the Bell View Hotel. By early next year, Whitehouse will raze the block that’s currently home to Sadlack’s Heroes, Schoolkids Records and several other businesses. It will be replaced by a seven-story, 125-room hotel owned by the university, with two ground-floor restaurant spaces.
The hotel’s brand will be announced in the coming weeks, and it’s expected to welcome its first guests in 2015.
Public art piece featured
Clearscapes designer Thomas Sayre presented renderings of the project last week. The front of the building will be essentially split in two – one half a primarily brick facade inspired by the university’s history, and the second half a glassy, more modern design. The center will house a 55-foot-tall public art piece inspired by the shape of a bell, a tribute to the hotel’s landmark neighbor.
“As the sun traverses (the sculpture), it will sparkle different ways, and you will see the world reflected different ways,” Sayre said.
Whitehouse said the sculpture was commissioned early in the process. “We want to make a contribution to the arts,” he said.
The hotel’s parking deck will be tucked away behind the building, not visible from Hillsborough Street. Guests will access the garage using Maiden Lane and Enterprise Street.
The hotel project is one aspect of the changing face of Hillsborough Street – from grungy college hangout to a more polished business district. The city has revamped one section of the streetscape near the new hotel, and other sections are on the way. Down the street, another block of older storefronts will soon give way to student apartments.
The hotel plans are expected to get a hearing at the Raleigh Planning Commission in the coming months.