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uptownliving

Ritz-Carlton Hotel & 1 Bank of America Center

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The Ritz-Carlton just received the AAA Five Diamond rating... This is the first for Charlotte and 3rd in the Carolinas. Charlotte has 6 other hotels with a Four Diamond rating.

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From the Fearrington House web site - http://www.fearrington.com/house/media.asp

AAA Five Diamond Award: 1996 - present (Inn)

AAA Five Diamond Award: 1995 - present (Restaurant)

Forbes Five Star Award (formerly Mobil): 2000 - present (Inn)

Forbes Four Star Award (formerly Mobil): 2000 - present (Restaurant)

Top 50 Best Overall Restaurants in The Country -

OpenTable.com Diners' Choice (2009)

Certified Green Restaurant: 2008 - present

Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence: 2004 - present

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If this is the 3rd for the Carolinas, and the other two are The Fearington House and Umstead Hotel (all in NC), does this mean there are zero in SC?

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Here are the Five Diamond Lodgings for SC, according to AAA.com:

CHARLESTON

Wentworth Mansion

KIAWAH ISLAND

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

SUMMERVILLE

Woodlands Inn, 13

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There are 3 in NC, and apparently 3 in SC for a total of 6 in the Carolinas. Not bad considering Texas has 3, Illinois 2, Ohio and Washington State 1, and many states have 0.

There are also properties like the Carolina Hotel in Pinehust N.C. They are a 4 star in the midst of major renovations with the goal of becoming a 5 Star resort. This is being done in preparation for the 2014 US Mens and Womens opens. After the success of the 99 and 05 mens Opens and the 01 and 07 womens Opens, they are returning for back to back mens and womens opens @ Pinehurst #2. Club Corp. sold over 200 properties, but they kept Pinehurst Inc. and made it their sole focus ... the PGA is in love with the famed Donald Ross course. 2014 will be the first time the PGA has held the womens and mens event at the same course in the same year.

It would not be a surprise to see some corp. invest heavily in signature properties as the economy continues to struggle and resorts cater to the wealthiest Americans.

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is there a handy-dandy guide somewhere that explains what makes a hotel 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars/diamonds/shamrocks/rainbows?

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What's the deal with Founders Hall these days- with all of the renovations + the Ritz-Carlton and the new BofA tower opening, it should have gotten a significant shot in the arm for attracting retail tenants, yet when I walked through it on Saturday, it was totally dead. There were a few pedestrians going through it, but the retail/restaurant space was literally 1/3-1/2 vacant. The hair salon has closed, as did the restaurants that were where Bistro 100 was. The remaining stores, while fine, are hardly destination retail.

Founders Hall could have a thriving upscale food court, or luxury restaurants (like the Shops at Columbus Circle), or higher-end mall-type retail. But it has none of this.

What gives? Is BofA just waiting to redo the entire tenant mix?

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^^^ I have to agree. While I really appreciate the College Street side renovation, I've been less than thrilled with the use (lack of) of internal space. A Sephora or MAC Cosmetic and a The Art of Shaving Store store would go really well in the Hall.

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The Art of Shaving and a Sephora would do well, as would a Crumbs cupcake store. You're right on.

If Tiffany manages to appear on South Tryon every fall, I'd think that a nicer jewelry store (with corporate gifts) would do fine too.

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I've heard that BOA is pretty embarrassed by how dated that interior is now (especially in comparison to the new sections). Granted, Founders Hall is not that old and is made of beautiful marble - but SHEESH - yellow and green?! - I bet we'll see a renovation before we see any real push for permanent tenants.

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What's the deal with Founders Hall these days- with all of the renovations + the Ritz-Carlton and the new BofA tower opening, it should have gotten a significant shot in the arm for attracting retail tenants, yet when I walked through it on Saturday, it was totally dead. There were a few pedestrians going through it, but the retail/restaurant space was literally 1/3-1/2 vacant. The hair salon has closed, as did the restaurants that were where Bistro 100 was. The remaining stores, while fine, are hardly destination retail.

Founders Hall could have a thriving upscale food court, or luxury restaurants (like the Shops at Columbus Circle), or higher-end mall-type retail. But it has none of this.

What gives? Is BofA just waiting to redo the entire tenant mix?

It's because nobody wants to go to a mall in uptown. The only people that it serves is Bank of America employees. Nothing fronts the street, and nobody knows what's in there. You can only see one sign for that steak house... Which reminds me, I'm glad we finally have another one of those in uptown. Maybe they will open up a dry cleaners too. I can't find those anywhere.

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It's because nobody wants to go to a mall in uptown. The only people that it serves is Bank of America employees. Nothing fronts the street, and nobody knows what's in there

Yeah and No.... I agree that we don't want a mall per se in Uptown, but I agree with mallguy's example of NYC's shops at Columbus Circle which is not a mall in the traditional sense, yet the shops are very successful, have helped regenerate interest in that section of the city and have become an attraction in itself.

Comparison:

At Columbus Circle which is at the base of Time Warner headquarters,you have upscale restaurants, entrance to Lincoln Center Jazz at Columbus Circle, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, gallery space and some boutique upscale and higher end service stores. There are two main anchors here: Whole foods and Borders.

At Founders Hall, which is at the base of Bank of America Headquarters, you have Aria, entrance to Blumenthal theaters, walkway to Ritz Carlton and some service oriented boutique stores with a small Jos Banks and Bookmark books as the main anchor.

In other words, there are similarities in Founders Hall to Columbus Circle that could be leveraged: (central point in the city, lobby of large headquarter operations ; connection to luxury hotel and entrance way to entertainment venue) which to be perfectly frank is to state that Founder's Hall's success doesn't really need to rely on people who live in city center wanting to shop there (Though I think they would if there were Saturday hours).

What is missing at Founder's Hall:

We already know from retail assessments done by CCCP that we can not currently or in the near future support large scale luxury stores in Charlotte city Center as the preferred location is SouthPark; however I do believe that City center could support smaller luxury boutiques. The real audience for such goods at the moment are within the Founders Hall connections listed above.

Now that said, I think we need to start small with things like a MAC cosmetics and Art of Shaving because the spaces offered at Founders Hall are perfect size and they would have an immediate draw from city center residents which would increase foot traffic and focus on the Hall thereby attracting other tenants. I would also love to see an L'occataine, upscale jeweler, Hermes boutique and a Godiva Shop as well. Some of these brands that do not necessarily fit the standard mall criteria but which would benefit from the closed and managed environment of Founder's Hall.

Again - these are not necessarily stores aimed at City Center residents though they would be utilized by them.

Benefit of Strategy:

Besides increasing the value of the attraction of Founder's Hall (and Ritz Carlton, mind you) and strengthening the pull of this whole area, it offers the city a way to begin introducing new retail in the core. If successful (which I believe it would be if it secured the types of shops I mentioned) it would add to the argument to other retailers to begin to seriously consider Charlotte city center (Tryon Street, College Street, etc) for store operations.

Street Fronting

I agree with your point as far as Tryon Street (nothing fronts and no one knows what's in there) but as discussed above the ones who the Hall could find great success with do have a front view and would know what's in there (BoA, Ritz Carlton) And while there is not yet any clear advertising of what's inside on College Street (or at least it is not the best possible display/advertising) I do think the recent remodeling of that entrance certainly can be utilized quite well to draw attention.

Bottom line? I agree with you that we don't want a mall in Uptown, but I don't think the proposals to revamp it being discussed is really talking about a mall per se.

(edited for a bunch of dumb spelling errors)

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I've always wondered why the Founders Hall renovation couldn't involve a College Street storefront. I've been told it's because that "sidewalk level floor" is actually only a 3/4 ceiling height under the existing floor of the original Founders Hall. That's the biggest problem with using Founders Hall as a "tourist" destination. I'm not saying it can't be dealt with, any problem can be overcome with enough money, and if BOA wanted a major retailers partner (like they way they wanted a major hotel partner in Ritz), they could do it

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Noticed yesterday that Jos A Bank had a sign stating they are moving across the Hall to the College Street Side. I need to look at the space again but I believe that has windows onto College which would aid in advertising retail inside the Hall. It also leaves open a prominent spot in the hall for a new retail tenant.

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Went to a movie at the Epicentre and then headed over to see the gingerbread house (cool!) when I spied Jos A, Banks from College Street! Seems that they have made a display window of suits on the second floor facing College which is exactly what I was hoping they would do. The new store was closed, but from what I could see through the window (inside founder's hall) it looks like a more more legitimate retail location than their previous spot.

Let's hope this is the start of more prominent retail in the hall.

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I'm pretty sure this was talked about here earlier on, but BOA has now decided to axe their video wall. The wall was going into the winter garden portion of the complex facing College. Too bad I guess, but at least there's some color underneath that behemoth sky bridge.

My link

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