Kessler Collection Breaks Ground on $110 Million Grand Bohemian Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina

Date: May 2018

Location: Trade and Church streets, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Name: Grand Bohemian – opening 1st Qtr 2020

No. of Keys: 254 including 32 suites

Owner: The hotel is being developed by the Kessler Collection, a boutique operator with nine hotels in cities such as Asheville, Charleston and Savannah, Ga., that are affiliated with Marriott’s upscale Autograph Collection.

The Kessler Collection purchased the half-acre site next to the Carillon Building in 2015 for just over $3 million. The 15-storey Grand Bohemian, will include a spa, art gallery, an “Argentine” theme (hence the tango band at the groundbreaking), wine-blending classes for guests, indoor and outdoor event space, a restaurant and a rooftop lounge.

“We want to add some more spice to your city,” said Richard Kessler, the company’s CEO, who got his start with the Days Inn hotel chain in the 1970s.

“There are some pretty nice hotels here, and you can make your own decision, but at the end of the day I think this will be the best-designed hotel,” Kessler said. “The architecture alone took a year and a half.”

The Grand Bohemian is the latest entry in an increasingly crowded upscale hotel market in Charlotte’s centre city.

A few blocks away, the 270-room InterContinental tower is planned to open in 2019, part of the Carolina Theatre renovation on North Tryon Street.

Next to Romare Bearden Park, the 217-room Kimpton Tryon Park opened last year, and a 300-room AC Hotel/Residence Inn by Marriott has sprung up atop the EpiCentre entertainment complex.

At least three new hotels are underway on Stonewall Street: A 350-room property at the Ally Center office tower whose operator hasn’t been named, along with two 181-room hotels adjacent to the Novel Stonewall Station apartments and Whole Foods, a Home2 Suites and an EVEN.

And the Charlotte Regional Visitors Association is promoting a possible plan to build a 1,000-room convention centre hotel, in part with public money. That would dramatically increase the supply of rooms in Charlotte and seek to match rival cities such as Nashville and Austin, Texas, which have developed their own convention hotels in recent years.

“These brands strengthen our city’s brand,” said Tracy Dodson, the city of Charlotte’s economic director.

Uptown and its surrounding neighborhoods have already seen a massive hotel growth spurt, zooming from 1,676 rooms in 1985 to just under 5,300 now. About 2,000 more rooms are planned or under construction, for an almost 40 percent expansion still to come.

The Grand Bohemian project has raised funding from a diverse array of sources, including a couple of family offices, which are private wealth management firms for the ultra-wealthy.

General contractor JE Dunn is also an equity partner, and the CMB Regional Centers, which collects funds from overseas investors seeking US residency in exchange for money through the EB-5 program, will be providing a mezzanine loan, officials said.

The EB-5 program provides capital for U.S. projects, but opponents say it amounts to selling U.S. citizenship, allowing the well-to-do to jump to the head of the line in exchange for a fee.

Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, said the added hotel rooms will help improve the city’s business travel market.

THPT Comment: Well with so many new hotel beds coming online, you had better add a convention centre to bring the new business to fill the beds!

Firs Seen: Hotel Online