In 2018, UNC Charlotte Chancellor Emeritus Phil Dubois persuaded the Charlotte City Council to invest $8 million of tourism taxes towards building the $87 million Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The center's construction began around January 2019, and although it was planned to finish by September 2020, it will officially open on March 31.
The center has been a long-standing dream of UNC Charlotte's in order to accommodate more academic conferences. Located at the LYNX Blue Line at the intersection of North Tryon Street and J.W. Clay Boulevard, the new center will provide a space for academic research and meetings. This location will also provide convenient transportation and access to Uptown Charlotte for conference attendees.
The 226-room Marriott with a 24,000-square-foot conference center and a 132-space parking deck will be twice the size of conference facilities at similar-sized hotels.
The UNC Charlotte Foundation funded $76 million into the project, covering the majority of the costs. The Foundation provided this amount by issuing $45 million in bonds, while Marriott contributed $2 million of the total amount.
President of the UNC Charlotte Foundation Niles Sorensen told Inside UNC Charlotte that "this facility will serve as a new 'front door' to the University, providing a welcoming space for generations of 49ers and Charlotteans."
Projected estimates show that the costly investment will be very profitable in future years. Within the first seven years, the hotel could generate $9 million from taxes. In the first five years, net proceeds generated $7 million, which UNC Charlotte Foundation can utilize to address excessive enrollment growth.
The long-awaited opening of the new expansion to University City, Charlotte's second-largest employment hub, will generate increased business and job opportunities for the city. Investors in the new hotel and conference center expect it will boost tourism and help UNC Charlotte and surrounding communities.