Conference center, hotel in works near Clay Blvd Station

Marriott is partner; hotel could open summer 2020

Overhead walkway already links JW Clay Station to proposed hotel site.

Just three weeks after the launch of light-rail service to University City, UNC Charlotte is moving forward on plans for a hotel and conference center beside the J.W. Clay Boulevard station.

“Once completed, this full-service UNC Charlotte-branded Marriott hotel will provide 226 rooms and a 15,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art conference center,” wrote Chancellor Phil Dubois in his April “Fast Five” update to the campus community. The hotel could open by summer of 2020, The Charlotte Observer reports.

 

A dream dating back three decades

Proposals for a university-focused conference center date back more than 30 years, to the original plans for nearby University Place. UNC Charlotte’s current Master Plan envisions a hotel and conference center near the Clay Boulevard campus entrance.

The university recently submitted a request for Charlotte City Council to rezone a wooded property on North Tryon Street for the new hotel and center. The 11.4-acre site is directly across from the Clay Boulevard station and parking deck.

An overhead walkway, paid for by the university and Carolinas HealthCare System University, already connects the property to the station.

 

Hotel could open in 2 years

The Charlotte Observer reports that if the rezoning is approved, university officials hope to have construction begin in 2019, with the hotel opening in 2020.

The 11.4-acre property is owned by the Foundation of UNC Charlotte, which works to support the university’s mission.

Foundation President Niles Sorenson told The Observer that the launch of light-rail service to uptown Charlotte and the university’s Center City campus was key to the conference center and hotel project moving forward.

 

Facility would be part of Millennial Campus

The site is part of the university’s Millennial Campus, which under NC rules can be used for purposes that enhance both the university’s educational programs and the region’s economic development.

The Millennial Campus already includes the EPIC public-private energy research and learning center; two motorsports research buildings; the PORTAL building (home to several startup businesses); and the Charlotte Engineering Early College, a public high school.

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