The family-run hospitality group that built The Franklin in Chapel Hill has begun construction on their first Charlotte project: a small hotel in Plaza Midwood called Refuge.
Wintergreen Hospitality plans to operate the five-room hotel prototype for about a year — while simultaneously seeking community feedback on the project — before building a more traditionally sized boutique hotel on the site. Wintergreen president Jay Patel calls Refuge a “stepping stone to the permanent hotel concept.”
- Think of Refuge as an Airbnb-like tiny hotel with outdoor gathering space in the heart of Plaza Midwood’s commercial district.
Why it matters: This will be the first hotel in Plaza Midwood, a fast-growing neighborhood beloved for its personality and local businesses. But the pandemic has crushed the hotel industry, especially in places that depend on business travel. The goal with Refuge is to provide an experience that’s different from other hotels, Patel says.
- The fact that office employees can work remotely from wherever they want provides an opportunity for hotel operators, Patel adds.
Details: Refuge will be in the 2,500-square-foot space at Central and Hawthorne that was previously home to Kickstand Burger Bar. Wintergreen is currently renovating the building, which it bought for $4.5 million in late 2019. It will have about 600 square feet of indoor/outdoor courtyard space offering a self-service selection of beer, wine, and packaged food items initially, Patel says.
- Guests will be able to rent out individual rooms, book the whole space, host private events and gather for drinks at Refuge, Patel says.
“We want to spruce up that corner as our front door,” Patel says. Work on the permanent hotel at the site will begin in about a year, he adds. “When we end this limited run, we will have this full set of data and feedback and community engagement.”
Timeline: Construction wraps up this summer. Reservations are being accepted online starting August 1. Here’s a look at what Refuge will look like. Renderings courtesy of Wintergreen Hospitality.