Excelsior Club in Charlotte added to endangered places list

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Excelsior Club in Charlotte added to endangered places list
Excelsior Club in Charlotte added to endangered places list


Historic Excelsior Club remembers community support in 2017 foreclosure announcement

Charlotte’s historic Excelsior Club has survived economic downturns, racial upheaval and changing ownership in its over 70 years of existence. It closed in 2016 and is now up for sale.

Charlotte’s historic Excelsior Club has survived economic downturns, racial upheaval and changing ownership in its over 70 years of existence. It closed in 2016 and is now up for sale.

The Excelsior Club, a landmark at the heart of the African-American community in Charlotte, was added to the list of the nation’s 11 most endangered historical places Wednesday.

The list includes sites that are “at risk of destruction or irreparable damage,” according to a press release from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It’s the only site in the Carolinas to make the list.

The club, off of Beatties Ford Road, closed its doors in 2016. It was listed for sale in April for $1.5 million, according to New River Brokerage’s Facebook page.

The building, which is a designated historic landmark, is owned by Carla Cunningham, a Democratic state representative. Last year, Cunningham filed paperwork to permit demolition. After June 12, Cunningham, or whoever the new owner is, can tear down the building.

Cunningham told the Observer in April that nearly $400,000 was needed to restore the property, which needs repairs and has code violations.

Central to community

The National Trust for Historic Preservation said in the press release that fewer than 5% of the more than 300 places that have been on the list over the years have been lost.

The Excelsior Club opened in 1944 and was central to African-American social and political life in Charlotte.

It hosted musicians like Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong. Bill Clinton and Al Gore campaigned there, and it’s where locals celebrated Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president.

In October, Mecklenburg County Commissioners voted against a proposal to save the club. The deal would have given the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission a year to either find a buyer or purchase the property.

But former commissioner Bill James told the Observer at the time that the board found the asking price of $350,000 too high when combined with the more than half a million needed to repair it.

This is a developing story

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