Historic Excelsior Club Seeks to Hire Black Architects to Work on Redevelopment, Revival of Historic African-American Property in Charlotte

The new owners of the historic Excelsior Club today announced they’re seeking distinguished Black architects from round the nation to participate within the redevelopment and revival of the Club, a longtime epicenter of African-American politics and culture in North Carolina.

The Excelsior Club opened in 1944 as a trendy nightclub that attracted Black professionals and politicians from around Charlotte as members. It remained a mainstay of the community for many years , until its closure in 2016. By 2019, it had fallen into such serious disrepair that the property was named one among the nation’s 11 most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

To ensure it’ll serve future generations, Kenwood Investments purchased the Club property in January. The Sonoma, Calif., developer intends to revive the Club to its historic place in Charlotte and, over subsequent two months, will build what CEO Darius Anderson called a “dream team” of Black architects to develop concepts for the transforming of the prevailing Excelsior Club facilities. which will include the planning of a boutique hotel to be constructed on the property. Kenwood is also seeking equally creative Black interior designers for the project.

This dream team will add consultation with accomplished Charlotte architect Darrell J. Williams, founding partner and therefore the owner of Neighboring Concepts, one among the most important African-American owned architectural firms within the Southeast.

Anderson noted that, while the nation’s attention is concentrated on the removal of racist monuments, we must not lose sight of the truly important Black cultural and historic sites that are being lost forever through neglect, decay or destruction.

“We must do quite preserve and protect them: we’d like to revive them to their places of prominence,” said Anderson, who has served on the board of the Robinson Foundation for 16 years. “That’s what we shall do with the Excelsior Club.”

Interested architects and designers will be able to apply for consideration over the next several weeks. They will be selected based on how their professional backgrounds are suited to this kind of preservation work; their vision for preserving history; how they would complement the local Neighboring Concepts team; and how their concept for the new hotel would complement the historic building. Details are available here.

About the Club
The Excelsior Club was established by James Robert (Jimmie) McKee, who oversaw a major remodeling and expansion of the facility in 1952. That created the Club’s famous streamlined Art Deco exterior, along with the addition of ballrooms that could accommodate 300 people. In its heyday, the Club was listed in the famous “Green Book” for African-American motorists and hosted internationally famous musicians including Louis Armstrong, James Brown, and Nat “King” Cole. President Bill Clinton made the Club a campaign stop during his presidential run in 1992.

After it closed in 2016, a demolition permit was issued for the building, which Anderson said would have been a “tragic” fate when so much iconic Black history has already been lost.

“Jimmie McKee was early visionary in protecting and providing equal opportunities for African Americans,” Anderson said. “For more than 70 years, it was the place to be for Black professionals, artists, and politicians thinking about running of the office. I fell in love with its amazing history and look forward to restoring this for the people of Charlotte and our nation.”

About Kenwood Investments, LLC
At Kenwood Investments, LLC, extraordinary projects are our passion. Kenwood was founded by Darius Anderson in 2000. The company’s investment focus for more than 15 years has been on real estate development, land entitlement, media, tourism and hospitality projects. Kenwood Investments has a track record of developing extraordinary projects that greatly enhance the communities in which its projects are built or operated, and has specialized during its tenure in projects facing complex hurdles of public policy, land entitlement and pre-venture capital funding. Based in Sonoma, California, Kenwood Investments consists of a team of highly talented individuals who have worked with Darius Anderson for years.

  • Title

    Historic Excelsior Club Seeks to Hire Black Architects to Work on Redevelopment, Revival of Historic African-American Property in Charlotte
  • Type

    Competition Announcement (Built Projects & Masterplans)
  • Website

  • Organizers

  • Registration Deadline

    September 01, 2020 08:00 PM
  • Submission Deadline

    September 01, 2020 08:00 PM
  • Venue

    Charlotte, N.C.
  • Price

  • Country Restrictions

    United States

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