CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Charlotte’s first skyscraper east of Uptown is now under renovation. The Ervin Building has been an eyesore for years, but that’s going to change.
“Huge day!” said Richard Gee, Vice President at Gvest Capital. “It’s exciting but it’s been a long time coming.”
It may not look like much now, but the tower along East Independence Blvd. was built with hope to capitalize on a big building boom following World War II.
“It’s a gateway.” Gee said. “Back in the 1960s, Walt Disney [was] writing letters to Charles Ervin complimenting his design that at the time was kind of a funky design. Folks were almost protesting it saying, ‘this is too weird for us.’”
The Ervin building, as it became known, had a modern, open concept design, and was built to draw more growth to Charlotte’s east side. Through the years, it housed a variety of tenants, but after 2008 hit, the building sat empty.
“It closed, and of course any time a building closes, it begins to deteriorate more rapidly and that’s what happened with the Ervin,” said Michael Sullivan, with The Nichols Company.
The building became home to squatters, graffiti and even a fire. Many thought it would get demolished, but new owners with Gvest Capital say the bones are good, and they plan to honor the visionary who gave them the inspiration.
Gee described what the inside will look like saying, “The windows are all from the 1960s, the terrazzo, the exteriors are going to get preserved. Even the bathroom tiles from the 1960s will still be there,” he continued. “Even a lot of the interior is going to be built up like it was back in the day.”
The building will become an office space with a rooftop bar. Eventually, Gvest will also build a restaurant next door.
“It’s going to be a whole complex,” Gee said. “So, it’s two buildings. That’s going to be a restaurant. I’d love for it to be a brewery. Hopefully, we can make that happen.”
The seven-story tower, once a casualty of hard economic times, now represents new hope that Ervin’s dream of a bustling east Charlotte can come true.
“Having a place in time and being part of that continuum is very important to people now,” Sullivan said.
Once finished, the building will have a memorial to the original developer, Charles Ervin. The projected completion date will be the fourth quarter of this year.