Local News

Part of Velvet Cloak Inn shuttered

Posted October 9, 2008 4:25 p.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2008 1:35 p.m. EDT

— 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."