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Tyler’s historic Carlton Hotel set to be revived with new apartments, retail space

New Orleans-based developer teams up with Tyler architects
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 7:23 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Tyler skyline staple will soon get a new life as an apartment building with space for new business. A New Orleans-based private developer is teaming up with Tyler architects to redevelop the old Carlton Hotel building into something Tyler and East Texas can be proud of.

A conceptual plan shows what the Carlton Hotel building could look like following its...
A conceptual plan shows what the Carlton Hotel building could look like following its transformation.(Fitzpatrick Architects)

“We are projecting that construction would begin next year,” said Brandy Ziegler with Fitzpatrick Architects.

Ziegler said for years Fitzpatrick Architects have focused on revitalizing downtown Tyler. It’s an effort that really started for them with the transformation of the People’s Petroleum Building, and now they’re tackling another skyline fixture: the old Carlton Hotel building.

The Carlton Hotel featured bright colors and a vibrant rooftop pool at one time.
The Carlton Hotel featured bright colors and a vibrant rooftop pool at one time.(File photo)

“Right now we’re studying it as apartments,” Ziegler said. “And we’re looking at over 100 apartments in the building, which would mean 100 new apartments for downtown Tyler.”

A New Orleans-based real estate firm, NORF Company, has acquired the old Carlton Hotel as part of their plan to redevelop historic buildings across the country. The Carlton operated as a hotel from 1954 to 1971. It remained vacant until Smith County bought it in 1977, and turned it into office space, including the sheriff’s office. The county stopped using the building in 2013 and eventually sold it.

“It’s tired and in need of repair,” Ziegler said. “And in most cases, most of the things that are in the building that have been built out over time are not historic.”

But Ziegler said some features are historic, like the grand staircase and the pool on top of the parking garage.

“We plan on keeping the pool,” she said. “And the developer is looking at potential units on that floor, whether they are units that you rent or more of an Airbnb type of unit, but five or six units on that full cabana level.”

Among the ideas they have for giving the old building some new life: a rooftop terrace and opening up the ground-level portion for what could be space for a bar or retail.

A conceptual rendering of what the Carlton Hotel could one day look like. This image shows a...
A conceptual rendering of what the Carlton Hotel could one day look like. This image shows a potential rooftop terrace.(Fitzpatrick Architects)

“The sky is really the limit,” Ziegler said about the open space at street-level.

For those skeptical of the project actually happening, Ziegler said this time is different than previous plans. She said more progress is being made than ever before.

“We’ve already seen five or six milestones accomplished that we waited for years to happen with previous developers,” she said.

They expect construction to begin in the spring of 2022, with the building possibly opening in 2023. The total project investment is expected to be close to $30 million. No word on the expected rent for the apartments.

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