Historic Hillsborough's Colonial Inn getting long-awaited makeover before May reopening

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Colonial Inn has occupied a spot on Hillsborough's King Street since the 1800s, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But in recent years, the face it presented to passersby was worn and tired. Peeling paint and broken windows were the norm, a neighbor told ABC11.

"When I moved here a year ago, it was in total disrepair," said Bette Soloway, whose great aunt told her of better days when it was a popular restaurant destination. "And I had heard about how someone had bought and maybe was going to restore it."

ABC11 heard that too, eighteen years ago while covering an auction of the then shabby property. Back then, we said "There's now a commercial future for this building with deep roots in Hillsborough's past. But the owner must spend a lot more money on cleanup and repair. As you can see, there's quite a bit of work to be done."

Fast forward to 2020, with new owner investors spending about $5 million and planning to wrap up renovation work by May.

"Then we open up. So we'll be a 28-room boutique hotel, with event-center space and a bar open to the public," said Allied DevCorp general manager Elise Tyler. "We'll also have community centered events that'll be there every week, so we're looking forward to inviting the community in for brunches."

Two of the investors, Joe and Emily Goatcher, accompanied our crew on Monday's tour of the inn. They're on a team of financial partners that includes Justin and Sunny Fejar and "a couple of minority investors," said Joe Goatcher.

Tyler, who first saw the battered inn as a UNC-Chapel Hill student back in 2010 said, "Even in its roughest form, there's just something about it that speaks to the people of Hillsborough and spoke to me. So even with sagging floors and some questionable structural pieces, I just think it's on its way back to recovery."

That should please neighbors who've seen it at its worst.

"I walk this way every day with my dog," said Soloway. "And to see the way they're restoring as much as they can? It's very cool."

ABC11 will let you know when the Colonial Inn reopens for business.
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