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Aloft plans new hotel near N.C. State bell tower

The owners of the Aloft hotel chain have confirmed plans to open a second Aloft hotel in the Triangle in 2015, this one at the Bell View property across from N.C. State University’s iconic bell tower monument on Hillsborough Street.

Aloft Raleigh will be a 135-room hotel with two retail storefronts on the site where the Sadlack’s Heroes and the Schoolkids Records shop are located now. Both businesses are planning to relocate elsewhere in downtown Raleigh.

The design of the hotel building will pay tribute to N.C. State’s heritage featuring a brick facade on one side, a glass and steel facade on the other side, and a 55-foot sculpture created by well-known Raleigh artist Thomas Sayre connecting the two sides.

It will also have outdoor space on the second floor that extends over the Hillsborough Street sidewalk. A parking deck for guests is planned at the rear of the building.

“The art is a visible representation of how the sound of a bell is created,” stated Sayre in a news release about the deal. “It is extraordinary how much importance the development team has placed on merging public art and building design together in order to create a memorable threshold to the campus.”

A joint venture partnership of the Bernstein Companies of Washington, D.C., and Bell View Partners of Raleigh has been working on plans for the Bell View project since 2011 when N.C. State university officials selected the team - led locally by Raleigh real estate developers Mark Andrews, Michael Sandman and Joe Whitehouse - to develop the site. The University Endowment Fund currently owns the 1.3-acre site where the project is proposed.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE: HOT) confirmed plans today that the Raleigh hotel site will carry the Aloft brand flag.

Starwood also announced in September it is opening an Aloft hotel at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham next to the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Both the Raleigh and the Durham hotels are slated to open in mid-2015. Aloft also has a hotel in Chapel Hill that opened in 2010.

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