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Recapturing the glamour

POSTED: Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 8:58pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 1, 2011 - 7:59am

It has been a landmark, some say an eyesore, for years now.

But now the former Carlton Hotel is set to regain some former glory.

It was built in 1954, and for a time, was the swankiest hotel in Tyler.

But time and fashion passed the Carleton by, and it has been slowly wasting away hoping for another chance…
And some feared that chance would never come.

Boasting a design that makes an old East German apartment block look stylish, the Carlton sat like a faded prom queen until the county bought it a turned it into office space.

It served that purpose for the next 33 years, and even civil service proved too much, and the county put it up for sale.
Call him overly optimistic, but local architect Ron Mabry saw potential in the old dowager and offered just over $300,000.
The county jumped at it, and the building is his.

Now what?

Bringing an older building up to code, much less turning a profit will be a challenge.

But it’s been done before, most notably with the old Rice Hotel in Houston which sat derelict for 20 years. It is now an upscale collection of lofts with a restaurant below.

For Mabry though, the Carlton will stay a hotel.

He even has his first booking.

The 50th John Tyler High School class reunion is coming up in 2015, and they wants to have the class reunion in the Carlton Hotel.

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