NEWS AND OBSERVER
When Duke University announced last week that it plans to open a second on-campus hotel early next year, it marked the latest in a flurry of hotel development activity in and around downtown Durham.
Just three years ago Durham was desperately in need of more hotel rooms. In downtown, rooms were needed both to enable the city’s convention center to attract larger events, and to meet demand created by a growing office market.
Fast forward to today, and the city’s hotel situation is drastically improved.
Four new hotels opened last year in downtown, adding 438 rooms to the 189 city-center rooms available at the Durham Marriott Civic Center. Two more downtown hotels are slated to open in the spring of 2017.
Both projects involve renovating hotel properties that have been dormant for years.
AJ Capital Partners is converting a shuttered 150-room hotel at 600 Williard St., a block from American Tobacco Campus, into a Graduate Hotel, a new brand of college town boutique hotels that the developer launched in 2014.
The second project is developer Austin Lawrence Partners’ renovation of the former Jack Tar Motor Lodge. That property is to be rebranded as the first Unscripted Hotel, a new brand launched by Dream Hotel Group. The 74-room Unscripted Hotel is expected to open in March or April of 2017.