Raleigh, North Carolina — A New York developer plans to demolish the round Holiday Inn in downtown Raleigh — a staple of the city’s skyline since 1969.
Raleigh residents have described the building at 320 Hillsborough Street as both iconic and an eyesore.
“It’s one of those weird buildings that exist in Raleigh. It’s very charming in so many ways,” Raleigh resident Jonathan Debruho said.
The developers plan to build a 20-story mixed-use development building in its place, comprising hotel rooms, apartments, and retail and restaurant space. The building will look like a glass tower, the developers said.
Mick Walsdorf, CEO of Tidal Real Estate Partners, said his company is “very excited about the strength of the Raleigh market and the opportunities it presents. There remains strong demand for more upscale hotel rooms and additional housing in the city center”.
New construction is part of the demand for high-end apartments and hotels
Walsdorf said there has not been enough development in the area serving the “luxury lifestyle” compared to other towns of its size.
“We intend to deliver a hotel product that will be among the best in the entire Southeast and which we hope will become a downtown centerpiece and a second home for Raleigh residents” , he said in a statement.
Dennis Edwards, president of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city was looking for a luxury hotel to service the Raleigh Convention Center.
“Our visitors today love new and shiny hotels,” he said. “We literally turn down offers every day from our sales department simply because we don’t have the number of rooms, the hotel inventory that they desire and want.”
Currently, downtown Raleigh has nine hotels with 1,777 rooms. Four hotels are under construction, including two on West Davie Street.
The glass tower is expected to bring 536 additional rooms to downtown Raleigh and will likely be completed in late 2025 or early 2026.
Known as the “revolving hotel”, the Holiday Inn was the last circular building in Raleigh
The Holiday Inn was built on Hillsborough Street in 1969 and has been a defining feature of local architecture and culture ever since.
The cylindrical building was Raleigh’s second “round building,” alongside the iconic Harrelson Hall on the NCSU campus, which was also built in the 1960s and demolished in 2016.
The Holiday Inn was the center of a popular Raleigh legend. Many who remember visiting the Holiday Inn in the 1970s and 1980s would joke that the top floor, which offered nearly 360-degree views of downtown Raleigh, had the habit of “turning” many years ago. The joke eventually turned into legend, with some new residents wondering if the building had really turned.
SKYE TOWER management cleared up the legend during a landmark tour in 2019, saying this Holiday Inn didn’t turn; however, it was modeled after many “sister” towers which did indeed have the function of turning to provide even grander views of the cityscape below.
Although it never filmed, many residents enjoyed the unique perspective of seeing so much of downtown Raleigh from 20 stories in the air. Historic churches, Dix Park, Fayetteville Street, and even the State Capitol were visible from the top floor of the Holiday Inn.