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Part of Velvet Cloak Inn shuttered

Posted October 9, 2008
Updated October 10, 2008

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— City fire officials closed part of the Velvet Cloak Inn on Hillsborough Street last week after an inspection found numerous safety concerns.

Some construction work on the hotel, which has served as a home-away-from-home for state lawmakers for years, was done without permits or inspections, according to a report by Frank Olafson, the city's permits administrator. Unsafe conditions included exposed electrical connections, inoperable fire alarms and a sprinkler system that didn't work, the report said.

Some emergency repairs have been made in recent days, but Olafson said in the report that the main building would remain shuttered until the fire alarm system could be fixed.

The campaign headquarters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory had to vacate the Velvet Cloak Inn temporarily, but was allowed to move to a different part of the building that has been deemed safe, campaign spokeswoman Amy Auth said.

At least one social function had to be moved from the hotel next door to the YMCA because of the safety concerns.

"For four years, we have painstakingly refurbished one of Raleigh's most beloved landmarks," owner David Smoot said in a statement. "We look forward to completing repairs and reopening shortly. We thank our guests for their patience at this time, and look forward to welcoming them back to the Velvet Cloak Inn soon."

7 Comments

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  • davidgnews Oct 9, 2008

    What a huge mistake to make.

    I agree. They should have left it open for the lawmakers.

  • Adelinthe Oct 9, 2008

    What a huge mistake to make.

    Thanking God no one's been hurt by this lapse in good judgement.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • silvfx Oct 9, 2008

    permits and inspections are in place so the work can be supervised and done safely, if you cannot manage to pull permits then close down for good

  • ohmygosh Oct 9, 2008

    Was it really shuttered? That is someone nailed up shutters.
    Or was it shut?

  • JohnDeereGirl Oct 9, 2008

    This is a shame, at one time it was "the place to stay". I remember seeing Jimmy Buffet's buses parked there when he was in town.

  • Funky Neighbor LEE Oct 9, 2008

    The Velvet Cloak use to be the prime spot in Raleigh.

    I can understand doing upgrades without involving the Gov though, working with them is so painful and costly.

  • john283594 Oct 9, 2008

    This is a shame, because the Velvet Cloak Inn could be a Raleigh landmark hotel if the management would keep the place up...

    I guess it is what I call "Rustic" now...