Demolition deadline looming for old PTL hotel - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Demolition deadline looming for old PTL hotel

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By Trent Faris - bio l email

FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) - Time is running out for the owners of the old hotel at the former PTL ministry in Fort Mill.

The York County Council says it's time to renovate the building or it will be demolished.

A stern warning came out back in April when the Council voted to give MorningStar Ministries until June 30th to make changes to the former Heritage Grand Hotel in Fort Mill.

Since that time, it appears that no changes have been made.  Nothing is happening at the old hotel, WBTV is told.

Morningstar has a $40 million plan to convert the 21-story hotel into a retirement facility. The ministry hasn't been able to get enough people to buy into the project to obtain financing for renovations.

"It's not getting any better and as time goes on it becoming more of an eye sore," said Matt Lochel.

Lochel lives in the shadow of the old PTL hotel and drives by it every day.  He's embarrassed by the tower's condition.

"Often times when we direct people into the neighborhood I have them come down this way so they don't have to drive past the tower," said Lochel.

The hotel was part of Heritage USA, a now-closed Christian theme park built in the late 1970s and 1980s. Praise The Lord ministries collapsed when televangelist Jim Bakker was caught up in a sex scandal and was later convicted of fraud and conspiracy.

Morningstar has been working with the county for two years to finish the project.

In April, Morningstar described themselves as feeling, "blindsided," by the ultimatum and announced that they have every intention of finishing the project.

"July one, if we haven't heard from them we'll go ahead and start the paperwork on the demolition of it," said Buddy Motz Chairman of the York County Council.

Motz says the council anticipates Morning star will ask a Judge to grant them more time to get together the money to fix the building.  Motz says there's been enough talking.

"We've bent over backwards to give them more time," said Motz.

Rick Joyner of Morningstar cited a 5-year agreement with York Co. that is currently only 2 years in.

Joyner said it was critical to get together with the county on this, as Morningstar plans on finishing the renovation of what will hopefully be a Christian Senior Living Center.

Morning Star told Motz they wanted to sell the 215 luxury condos on the property to raise cash to renovate the building, but the sluggish economy may have slowed that process down.

Joyner claimed some citizens have already made deposits for some of the 140 units intended to be up and running.

Lochel says if Morning Star isn't willing to clean up the property.

"It needs to be demolished that land can be put to better use," said Lochel.

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