Crane removal signals final push for downtown Spartanburg’s AC Hotel

The 208-foot-tall crane above the AC Hotel in downtown Spartanburg was removed Tuesday, signaling the final push for the $20 million hotel's construction, which is expected to be completed in the fall.

A symbol for downtown Spartanburg’s momentum vanished Tuesday.

The 208-foot-tall tower crane used for construction of the 10-story, 114-room AC Hotel spearheaded by Spartanburg-based OTO Development and Johnson Development was officially dismantled.

But project officials said the crane’s removal is the beginning of the end of the $20 million project, which is expected to have a positive impact on the city for decades to come.

“The tower crane — at 208 feet tall — has been a fixture on the downtown Spartanburg skyline for more than a year, symbolizing the growth and revitalization of our corporate headquarters’ hometown,” said Bruce Collins, director of development for OTO Development. “Our team has enjoyed every step of this project, so watching the crane being dismantled is a little bittersweet, but now begins the countdown until AC Hotel Spartanburg opens in the fall.”

Construction of the hotel at 225 W. Main St. across from RJ Rockers Brewery began in October 2015 with the demolition of the former Event Rentals building.

Throughout late 2015 and the first half of 2016, the groundwork for the hotel was completed.

After the crane was installed in June 2016, the building’s shell began to take shape.

In December 2016, a large crowd of business leaders, elected officials, builders, and others involved in the project participated in a “topping out” ceremony in the nearly 100,000-square-foot unfinished building.

Spartanburg-based McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture is the architect of record for the project, working in collaboration with David M. Schwarz Architects out of Washington D.C. Alabama-based Robins & Morton is the general contractor.

The hotel, which is anticipated to be the first Marriott premium brand AC Hotel in South Carolina, will reflect the “grand hotel” style, according to officials.

“Once you see [the crane] coming down, it means we’ll be working on the outside of the building,” said David Allen, senior superintendent for Robins & Morton. “And during the next few weeks, we’ll be doing work on the inside of the building.”

Allen said the building is 12 stories, factoring in the basement and a “mechanical well” in its roof.

When complete, the hotel will feature the rooftop indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar Level 10 from Greenville’s Rick Erwin Dining Group, an outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, and other amenities.

It will showcase artwork from The Johnson Collection’s Black Mountain College portfolio, and three of its meeting rooms, which offer a combined 2,662 square feet of meeting space, will be named after four of the college’s most prominent figures.

Allen said about 670 construction employees have participated in his company’s orientation sessions for the project. He estimates that more than 800 people, mostly from the surrounding areas, have worked on the hotel so far.

“I believe 160 [workers] is the most we’ve had at one time, but there’s always a constant flow of people,” Allen said.

He said the project has moved forward without any major hiccups or incidents.

“This is a very unique building,” Allen said. “I think the Johnsons have very high expectations because they love Spartanburg.”

The hotel’s construction is just one of several ongoing projects in downtown Spartanburg that promise to bring new retail, retail, and maybe even some office opportunities to the area.

Michael Silverman, co-owner of The Local Hiker and Hub City Scoops in downtown Spartanburg, said he has enjoyed the energy and exposure that the construction of the hotel has brought to the community.

However, the entrepreneur said he’s excited for all of the projects reach fruition.

“We are certainly going to miss the construction crews who have been here for a time,” Silverman said. “But the completion of their work signifies a new wave of opportunities in downtown.”

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