ATLANTIC BEACH — After nearly two years of sitting unused, Carteret County’s largest hotel is close to welcoming guests again.
The former Sheraton Atlantic Beach property is scheduled to reopen this summer as Double Tree by Hilton Oceanfront.
Marty Matfess, executive vice president of Newport Group Inc. of Augusta, Ga., said the anticipated opening date is June 1.
“We want to be open the earliest part of the summer as possible,” he said.
Newport Group acquired the Atlantic Beach property for $4.56 million during a foreclosure sale in December.
Newport Group is a real estate development and management firm that specializes in hotel investments and operations. It owns and operates hotels across the Southeast, including the Double Tree by Hilton Riverfront in New Bern.
Matfess said inside renovations are being completed, and the oceanfront hotel in Atlantic Beach will open with the same number of rooms, banquet facilities and with the oceanfront bar and grill on site.
The hotel closed for renovations in September 2011 following damage from Hurricane Irene and never reopened.
Carol Lohr, executive director of the Crystal Coast Tourism Development Bureau, said the reopening will fill a void of nearly two years.
“It will be a tremendous asset to have the hotel back open,” she said.
The closure has meant a reduction in hotel rooms in the county, as well as the loss of well-used banquet facilities.
Lohr said they have been able to accommodate meetings and events such as weddings at the Crystal Coast Civic Center and at other properties around the county, but there have been some that have had to locate outside of the county.
“We’ll have to work hard to get those back,” she said.
Lohr said having the hotel and banquet facilities back open will also be a benefit to the surrounding businesses.
“We’re excited,” she said.