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$23 million in renovations planned for Cherry Hotel

Posted on January 16, 2022

Updated on January 23, 2022

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Wilson officials and city council members look around the former Cherry Hotel’s ballroom during a downtown tour in April 2019. Crews will spend more than a year renovating the historic structure starting later this year.

Brie Handgraaf | Times file photo

Wilson officials and city council members look around the former Cherry Hotel’s ballroom during a downtown tour in April 2019. Crews will spend more than a year renovating the historic structure starting later this year.

Work to renovate the historic Cherry Hotel on Nash Street should begin by mid-2022. Plans call for a 101-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel with custom décor reflecting downtown Wilson’s history.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Work to renovate the historic Cherry Hotel on Nash Street should begin by mid-2022. Plans call for a 101-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel with custom décor reflecting downtown Wilson’s history.

Wilson officials and city council members look around the former Cherry Hotel’s ballroom during a downtown tour in April 2019. Crews will spend more than a year renovating the historic structure starting later this year.

Brie Handgraaf | Times file photo

Wilson officials and city council members look around the former Cherry Hotel’s ballroom during a downtown tour in April 2019. Crews will spend more than a year renovating the historic structure starting later this year.

Work to renovate the historic Cherry Hotel on Nash Street should begin by mid-2022. Plans call for a 101-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel with custom décor reflecting downtown Wilson’s history.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Work to renovate the historic Cherry Hotel on Nash Street should begin by mid-2022. Plans call for a 101-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel with custom décor reflecting downtown Wilson’s history.

Work to renovate the historic Cherry Hotel on Nash Street should begin by mid-2022. Plans call for a 101-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel with custom décor reflecting downtown Wilson’s history.
Wilson officials and city council members look around the former Cherry Hotel’s ballroom during a downtown tour in April 2019. Crews will spend more than a year renovating the historic structure starting later this year.

bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7821

For several years, a fence has surrounded the historic Cherry Hotel on Nash Street as developers complete the preliminary work needed to restore the downtown structure as a hotel.

“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the design, permitting and pre-construction work, but as far as the actual building, we had the contractor mobilized and ready to go when COVID hit,” said Grey Raines, managing partner at the Raines Co. “It slowed us down, but we feel like we’re on the other side of that.”

Developers plan to invest more than $23 million in the 1917 hotel to create 101 guest rooms and a ballroom and establish 24-hour food service. Work should start by the middle of this year. Once complete in late 2023 or early 2024, the hotel will employ at least 25 people.

“We’ve got great financing and great partners. It is time,” Raines said. “The market is dynamic, and it is continuing to grow. We know we can deliver the product that will make Wilson proud, so I can’t wait to get going and get these places open for business.”

The developers announced a franchise agreement with Courtyard by Marriott in late 2019. The Courtyard affiliation and branding remain part of the plan.

“This will be a very customized Courtyard by Marriott with the historic feel and experience, but supported by the Marriott system,” Raines said. “It will have all the things the corporate travelers are looking for, but we’ll have custom artwork and everything.”

In addition to a state grant awarded in December, developers plan to use state and federal historic tax credits to help fund the building’s adaptive reuse.

“Typically, the cost of renovating a building is higher than building something new, so those tax credits help offset the cost,” Raines explained. “It incentivizes developers to make higher than normal investments and save these buildings. Without these credits, a lot of buildings would have been torn down or just not renovated.”

In December, the Cherry Hotel was awarded $200,000 through one of 16 North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority grants that infused $4.13 million across the state.

“Our rural communities are the backbone of our state,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement announcing the grant awards. “The effects of the pandemic have been profound, but our people are resilient, and these grants will stimulate economic growth through building reuse and other infrastructure.”

Visit www.rainesco.com to learn more about the company and see other projects the team has completed.

“It all started with a need for quality hotel rooms in downtown Wilson, but the area was already on a path of revitalization and growth with active leadership, so it all created a perfect storm,” Raines said. “We’ve been excited about Wilson for a couple of years now, and we can’t wait to get this project going.”

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