Charleston CVB executive ‘encouraged’ by plans to build hotel at former Sears site

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Alisa Bailey says she’s “encouraged” by plans to build a hotel where the former Sears store is located at the Town Center Mall.

Alisa Bailey

“We’re anxious to learn more of the details about this deal,” Bailey told MetroNews.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the former Sears store has a buyer.

KM Hotels closed on its purchase of the store Wednesday. The hotel developer told the paper they plan on building a self-standing hotel branded by Hilton. It’s unknown what type of Hilton hotel will be on the site.

Bailey said the hotel’s proximity to the Charleston Civic Center would help boost tourism in the Kanawha Valley.

“Having a hotel there next to the $100 million expansion and renovation of the Convention Center is a positive move,” she said.

Bailey said the CVB anticipates they’ll need more hotel rooms to house people for events at the Civic Center and at the new Shawnee Park multi-sports complex.

“All of the hotels in the area, not just the ones in Charleston specific, but all of the hotels in the Valley are going to benefit if we can get these bigger conventions and bigger sporting events,” she said.

Bailey hoped for some kind of business to move into the old Sears site, not necessarily a hotel.

“I don’t think that we specifically wanted a hotel, but a hotel is great. I think that we will be able to meet the room demand. I don’t think it’s an overbuild of rooms,” she said. “Just having something in there so that can help boost the mall’s ability to keep retailers in there is great.”

The new hotel would not open for another two years.

KM Hotels had hopes to buy the former Holley Hotel space on Quarrier Street in 2015, but the deal fell through. That space is owned by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.

Sears closed its Charleston store, along many other stores across the country, in April 2017.

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