HIGH POINT — Another High Point Market has descended on the city without the availability of 252 hotel rooms in the heart of the showroom district.
The former Red Lion hotel has been closed for a year, purportedly for renovations, but nothing has been done. The property at 135 S. Main St. is shuttered and its phone number is not in service.
“It is currently sitting empty and basically mothballed,” said Reggie Hucks, the city of High Point’s inspections director.
The hotel is caught in a “financing fight” between separate groups of investors who own the land and the building, respectively, according to Ray Gibbs, executive director of Forward High Point.
“There’s two entities, both trying to get their money back,” he said. “In my opinion, both of them need to take a haircut, but they’re trying to figure out which one’s going to have more of it cut off, is kind of what it sounds like to me.”
As leader of the agency that oversees downtown development in High Point, Gibbs occasionally gets calls about the property, given its prime location.
“I talked to a hotel company (Thursday) that had some interest in it. But nobody will touch it with a separate land lease and whatever it would cost to renovate the building,” he said.
Gibbs said the investors that currently have control of the hotel building apparently bought it and several other properties around the country that were part of another fund.
“They’re trying to see if they can get the land at (a cost) that’s reasonable to try to do something with it,” he said. “That seems to be the big point right now.”
The hotel opened in 1983 as the Radisson and has had a series of owners and different names, most recently Red Lion.
“I think the biggest problem with it, it just has too many rooms,” Gibbs said. “They can fill them all during Market, but the rest of the year, there’s no way they can fill that many rooms when we don’t have anything else going on.”
He said the building has antiquated central heating and cooling systems, and outdated plumbing.
“It’s going to take significant funds to really get the building back to a place it can open and work properly again,” he said.
A viable renovation plan “would probably look at cutting the number of rooms and doing something else with the others — maybe combine the rooms and make them suites or apartments.”
Gibbs said the surrounding showrooms are the most valuable real estate in the city, but the hotel’s design is obsolete.
“To me, it looks like an old airport hotel, with the big drive in the front,” he said. “Nobody does that with an urban hotel. The land is too valuable to have grass and all that sitting in the front.”
Two potential new hotels are under consideration for development in another part of downtown — one on the Congdon Yards campus that could be adjacent to a proposed events center and the other outside Truist Point stadium.
But nothing has been decided about either concept.
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