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Fayetteville's Prince Charles Hotel found unsafe for habitation

Posted October 1, 2010

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— Firefighters evacuated Fayetteville's landmark Prince Charles Hotel Friday afternoon after discovering unsafe conditions inside, according to a statement from the city.

The hotel's owner and city officials have been at odds over a vinyl window he installed in the building.The city filed suit in May to compel John Chen to pay more than $45,000 in fines for the window which does not meet the standards for the historical building.

The hotel was ruled unsafe in December, and 70 tenants were moved out for three days while Chen brought it up to code.

At that time, Chen said the city overreacted to what he deemed minor violations. Inspectors also found that he had done demolition work inside without proper permits.

Firefighters inspecting the building Friday again found demolition going on in the upper floors without a permit. They were attempting to contact Chen, who recently moved back to New York City, where he owns a parking garage.

Chen has said the renovations he is making are part of a plan to transition the hotel, which rents rooms by the month, to condominiums.

"This is like a temporary arrangement while we do the condominium conversion," Chen said in December. "We still want the building occupied."


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  • josephlawrence43 Oct 4, 2010

    The place was condemned by the fire department because the fire department was told to find enough stuff to close it. All over one replacement window that did not conform to "historical" standards. Excuse me?? This level of pettiness is normal for Fayetteville--embarassing but normal..

  • bmg379 Oct 4, 2010

    Chen has had several violations,there are old disabled people living there and he has bad wiring and window units hanging out the windows

  • rdmcswai Oct 1, 2010

    From the photo it looks beautiful, but so are many historical buildings and homes in Raleigh. They're also in awful shape. It's a shame, but takes lots of money to bring up to code, much less improve and update.

  • joedaplumber Oct 1, 2010

    "The hotel was ruled unsafe in December, and 70 tenants were moved out for three days while Chen brought it up to code"

    My question is if the building was up to code in December how can it be so unsafe now?

  • joedaplumber Oct 1, 2010

    seankelly15 The city cannot afford to condemn because then they would own a so called historic landmark building which cant be torn down. The landmark status is why the city is complaining about a vinyl window.

  • Rolling Along Oct 1, 2010

    Chen is in over his head. When he purchased the building it needed close to a million dollars of work done just to maintain it, much less upgrade it. It has been a white elephant ever since it was built. Converting at least part of it to condos is probably the only way it can survive. I have been in and out of that building over the past 30 years as part of various survey teams. It is a great building, but needs a caring and wealthy owner to make it work.

  • WRALSUCKS Oct 1, 2010

    Not having a permit is not the same as "not being safe".

  • seankelly15 Oct 1, 2010

    Mr. Chen: of course you want the rooms rented until you can rip people off in your attempt to sell the rooms as condos. Here is the problem; no one cares if you lose money if the alternative is having people live in unfit/dangerous conditions. Why is the City playing with this guy? Condemn the building.