Craig Austin, Meredith Zingraff, and I sit around a table in The Dunhill Hotel’s recently refurbished lobby and discuss how business travel continues to recover from the dry season of COVID. The ground floor of Charlotte’s historic hotel is a pleasant space to spend an overcast weekday morning—tastefully upholstered chairs, a melodious Ella Fitzgerald tune from the speakers—until someone opens the front door, and a jetlike roar drowns out our conversation.
“Yeah,” Austin, The Dunhill’s general manager, remarks in a near-shout. “They’ve been out there for two days doing that.”
The noise comes from an industrial vacuum truck parked directly across North Tryon Street, part of the interminable Carolina Theatre renovation project. The work began in 2017 and was supposed to take two years. But construction workers have discovered one unforeseen environmental complication after another, and COVID pushed everything back. So work continues.
Over nearly a century, staff and regular guests at The Dunhill have grown accustomed to the noisy rearrangement of their environs. The 10-story, neoclassical structure at 237 N. Tryon, the former site of a Methodist church, opened in November 1929 as The Mayfair Manor, a mix of apartments and hotel rooms designed by locally renowned architect Louis Asbury. The Mayfair survived the Depression, multiple ownership changes, and commerce’s gradual desertion of uptown until it finally closed in 1981.
A $6 million redevelopment project turned the building into The Dunhill, which opened for business in 1988 as the city’s only historic hotel; it remains the lone Charlotte entry on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of 272 Historic Hotels of America. Click here to read the rest of the article.
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