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Cabarrus Magazine

The View at Hotel Concord: Live It.

Dec 01, 2017 08:30AM ● By Jason Huddle

Promoted Pin Edit The View at Hotel Concord: Live It.

Cabarrus Magazine last sat down with Patrick Reilly two years ago as he was wrapping up the construction of Lofts 29.

The former Heilig-Meyers furniture store sits at the corner of Cabarrus Avenue and Church Street in Concord. As president of Winston-Salem-based Rehab Development, Reilly and his team transformed the empty building into a historically correct community of apartments.

We say historically correct because the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which, like 73 & Main in Mt. Pleasant, meant abiding by a set of guidelines in returning these old structures to what they would have looked like when originally built.

Back then, Reilly had already been inside Hotel Concord several times. He knew he wanted to tackle the project of its restoration as well, and already had an idea in his head.

“We started pretty quickly after finishing Lofts 29, but this sale was more complicated,” he shares. “Union Street Corporation owned the hotel but not the rooms above the bank. They have 170 different shareholders and a board of directors. They wanted to make sure the building was going to be historically preserved.

“The Telephone Exchange building, the bank and the parking lot behind it were owned by the bank. Fortunately, I was able to deal directly with the bank president in Cincinnati.”

The bank Reilly refers to is Fifth Third. After buying First Charter, they consolidated their branch locations and closed the one at the corner of Union Street and Cabarrus Avenue. The Concord Telephone Exchange building is located behind the bank space on Cabarrus Avenue.

Rehab Development began project demolition in December 2016. With regard to challenges, Reilly

says, “There were a few…nothing that we haven’t seen before. The building is very structurally sound, constructed of steel and plaster.”

Hotel Concord was built in 1926. As the largest historic property in Cabarrus County – 46,536 square feet – its immensity is overwhelming. With no electricity during construction, it’s like stepping back in time. Three dusty clocks hang on the wall over the check-in counter: New York, London and Paris time zones suspended.

Elaborate moldings and scrollwork adjacent to peeling paint; an elevator with gated metal door and crystal light fixture; beautiful stone tile floors and marble stairways with curved wooden handrails…it’s difficult to take it all in. Then you go upstairs.

Reilly’s plan is seeing the conversion of the tired, dilapidated hotel space into 38 apartments; the project is named The View at Hotel Concord.

Walls separating one hotel room from another have come down. New electrical wiring runs through exposed sheaths to new receptacles covered by repainted original plates. Hotel room doors have been kept and painted while some interior doors have been sealed into the apartment’s wall, becoming a unique part of the architecture.

“The floors in the apartments themselves will be a stained concrete, and then we’ll have VCT (vinyl composite) tiles in the hallways,” Reilly says. “All the old walls are going to be plastered – finished like the old hotel – new walls will be sheetrock. The kitchens will have solid-surface granite countertops and three units have private patios. There will be a gym, community space with TVs and a bar area.

“There are six two-bedroom apartments, the rest are studios or one-bedrooms. Some have a bedroom but don’t have a door, so, technically, they’re studios.”

Original plans saw apartment sizes ranging from 385 to 882 square feet with rental rates from about $950 to 1,600 per month. Like Lofts 29, the rent includes all utilities, Internet and cable TV.

 A gray and tan color scheme is being used on the apartment walls/trim, and windows or panes are new – and large – offering some one-of-a-kind views of Concord’s historic downtown. There is also a mezzanine-level rooftop patio for residents.

While the ballroom space has been in operation within Hotel Concord, Reilly had to approach Lynn

Neal, its manager, about closing it down for a year. Reilly says she was nervous but has been able to book events in other venues during construction. The ballroom will get new paint and a sprucing up; its flooring will remain exactly as it was.

The Concord Telephone Exchange building has two larger apartment units above two ground floor commercial spaces with great storefronts. At the opposite end of the building – closest to Central United Methodist – more retail space is available.

“There are 18,000 square feet of non-residential space in that building. Lynn’s space takes up half of that. We have excellent space on Union, at the end right next to the church. That’s 1,300 square feet. We have two other smaller spaces on Union that we’re talking to people with, potentially for a market,” Reilly shares.

A market had once been considered for the bank space on the corner, but Reilly says, “There’s about 3,600 square feet above ground and another 1,400 square feet in the basement. We haven’t really identified an end-user for that space. It would be possible to put a restaurant in there as long as there is proper firewall separation. A lot of it looks so cool that can easily be incorporated: a nice mezzanine level, a wide open dome ceiling. We want to find the right long-term user that would be a good fit in downtown. We don’t feel we have to do that right now.”

While completion of The View at Hotel Concord was slated for the end of December, Reilly says,

“Most units will be close to completion by the end of the year. We plan on moving people in, in mid-February. We started off the project with a budget of about $5.3 million, but now it’s closer to $6.2 million.”

Nest Property Management is handling apartment leasing. Resident parking will be located in the parking lot behind Hotel Concord. The rear entrance is being equipped with a lift, providing handicap accessibility.

Rehab Development was able to use historic tax credits in the restoration of Lofts 29 and Hotel Concord. However, the House GOP tax overhaul looks to eliminate the 20 percent federal investment tax credit for historic preservation projects.

Reilly is passionate about the subject, saying, “They’re looking to cut all tax credit programs. Without Federal and State Historic Tax Credits, a project of this type would not have worked. If Federal tax credits get cut, projects like the Hotel Concord – across the country – will not be feasible. Two renovation projects across from Congressman Hudson’s campaign office would not have happened without Historic Tax Credits.”

­­­The elimination of the credits would have a direct, negative economic impact on downtown districts as well. Besides losing employment opportunities, a study conducted by Place Economics in 2014 projects that Hotel Concord’s apartments could bring more than $414,000 into downtown’s economy.

Article By: Kim Cassell

Photos Courtesy: Michael A. Anderson Photography

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