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Historic Fayetteville Hotel on Auction Block

Posted April 23, 2007

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— A once-fashionable landmark in Fayetteville went up for auction Monday, but the lone bidder was the mortgage lender that foreclosed on the property.

The Prince Charles Hotel is the only hotel in downtown Fayetteville. The building built in 1926 has a poetic quality, with artfully-designed columns, rooftop lamp posts and a stone façade around the front door. It’s constructed of brick and is eight stories tall.

Mickey Rooney has slept at the hotel, as did Amelia Earhardt.

But now its awning is tattered, and the grass surrounding the building is unkempt. Visitors have shunned the property in recent years. The Prince Charles now has a 37 percent occupancy rate, compared to 57 percent for other Fayetteville hotels.

It was bought by R.K. Properties of Rockville, Md., in 2004 from a group of local owners. Since then, the hotel has become a little shabby. R.K. Properties has cut back on services and staff and maintenance.

Zions National Bank of Utah scheduled Monday’s foreclosure auction. They bought the property for a price of $2.4 million.

"The bank will take in the property,” said bank attorney Dudley Whitley. “We'll own it. We'll market it and hopefully re-sell it."

It was the third time in 15 years that the hotel has been auctioned. Local real estate investors said preserving the building is important to the vitality of the downtown area.

"If the right thing is done to the hotel, it could be another star in downtown Fayetteville,” said real estate broker Neil Grant, who showed up to observe the auction but said he has no plans to invest.

Grant said he’s eager to see the Hay Street icon become a vibrant hotel again.

"It's still in a pristine state because it hasn't had a lot of renovation,” he said. “It hasn't had a whole lot done to it. It has a lot of opportunity."

Renovations to the hotel are projected to cost about $1 million to get the hotel up to national franchise standards. So far, no possible investors have been named.

“We’ve always got clients that may be interested in projects like this,” said David Helms, a Fayetteville real estate investor.


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