BY STACIE LETT CAIN
Statesville City Council chambers were packed Monday evening to hear a Charlotte developer explain his vision for rehabilitating the Vance Hotel.
“You have something here in Statesville that no other city has,” Stephen Barker of Catellus Group Commercial Real Estate told the council and a standing-room only crowd. “You have the Vance Hotel.”
Barker made a general presentation, showing pictures of Vance in its former glory as well as photographic evidence of how neglect, time and the elements have taken away the beauty and mystique of the once-thriving hotel.
City Manager Ron Smith has advised the City Council that the city-owned building is in dire need of work.
“It would be much easier to build a new hotel, but we love the historic aspects of this project,” Barker conceded. “This hotel is in a perfect place and — in conjunction with the wonderful Civic Center Statesville has — we think we can provide a full-service hotel that this city can be proud of. We want to bring the Vance back to its glory.”
Because of the hotel’s historic status, renovations to the structure would be complicated by historic preservation guidelines, according to Barker. The roof, the pool and other substructures of the hotel will need major work, in addition to repairing walls, tile and paint.
But the scope of the undertaking isn’t enough to dissuade Barker’s firm from wanting to take it on.
“We have done these projects before and we know the road we are about to take,” Barker explained. “We believe the end result will be well worth the investment both to us and to the city.”
Barker estimated it would take two to three years to complete the project, but he is hopeful it could be finished sooner.
“In the year 2022 the Vance Hotel will be 100 years old,” he said. “It is my hope that we can celebrate that birthday at the hotel and mark that very special day with a completed project, open for business.”
While the hotel originally featured 93 rooms, Barker’s vision for the revamped Vance would have about 65 rooms, including some larger suites. The boutique style would be an attraction that would bring people into the downtown area, he said.
The estimated cost of the project was not discussed, and the City Council did not take any action.
Barker has been in talks with city administration about the project for the past year.