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Future of historic Hillsborough inn to be decided soon

Posted October 11, 2015
Updated October 12, 2015

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— A decision could be made soon over the future of the historic Colonial Inn in Hillsborough.

Town commissioners plan to discuss possible action to take control of the building that has gained so much attention through the years.

Historians said that the inn was built in 1838, although a weathered sign on the front of the building says that it was built in 1759.

Hillsborough residents Laura and Andrew Sam have fond memories of the place from back in the 1990s.

"I remember taking Andrew to eat and we would come with friends and they would serve family-style traditional southern cooking," said Laura Sam.

The owner, Chapel Hill businessman Francis Henry, had suggested tearing down the inn and selling the lot, but the town said no.

The Hillsborough Town Council would like to enter into a partnership with the hotel owner’s group to put together a private-public venture to restore the hotel.

It is estimated that the business would generate about $2 million per year when it is restored and if it becomes fully occupied with business tenants and hotel guests. However, it would cost $3 million to restore the building.

"I'd like to see it restored and brought back to its original glory," said Andrew Sam. "It was a beautiful place whenever it was operational as a restaurant and I guess a bed and breakfast."

Residents who live near the hotel and want to see it restored have suggested creating a Go Fund Me campaign to help fill the monetary gap.

“It would be nice if the community would be able to pitch in,” said Laura Sam.

Hillsborough Fire Marshall Jerry Wagner has said that the building is a tremendous fire hazard not only to itself but to nearby buildings.

Town leaders know that either the building has to be repaired and brought up to modern-day fire code or it needs to be torn down.

Both the owner’s group and the town leaders have had a chance to study the proposal about the possible joint venture. The Hillsborough Town Council is expected to make a decision on the matter during their meeting Monday.


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  • Kenneth Anderson Oct 12, 2015
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    If this building is important to the town of Hillsborough and the owner want repair it, then the town needs to buy it and restore it. If not, then tear it down. It's been an eyesore for many years in its present condition. For the record I'm for restoring it and preserving history, but this ongoing discussion is becoming tiresome.

  • Jim Frei Oct 11, 2015
    user avatar

    Tear it down, and build a replica in its place. In 10 years no will know or care.