MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) - Long-time Main Street Coordinator Sharon Jablonski can't help but get excited when talking about the newest addition coming to the downtown area of Morganton - a Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites.
"This is huge!" Jablonski said of the business, which will be built on vacant land adjacent to the downtown area.
In a time when many small-town downtowns have struggled to survive, it is a further indication of how Morganton is faring.
Hotel developer Mike Kren, of Charlotte, says Morganton has a pent-up demand for hotel rooms with all the growth that has happened lately. A new Broughton Hospital is under construction, the North Carolina Science and Math School is coming, companies are hiring and downtown has a vacancy rate of just 2%.
Kren says Morganton is the type of place that many younger people are wanting to move to.
"We think there is a renaissance going on in small towns across North Carolina," he said.
In most cases when hotels locate near a small town, the facilities are built next to interstates. Officials say it is very unusual, if not rare, for a hotel to be built close to a small town's downtown area.
This location will be within a minute's walk to downtown Morganton. It will also be within walking distance of the town's greenway extension and bike paths - and close to a major sports complex that draws teams in for tournaments from across the southeast.
Groundbreaking will be Monday afternoon with construction beginning within days. Developers hope to have the hotel ready by late 2019.