At Hotel Bennett, a Midcentury Library Becomes an Historically Minded Hotel

Twenty-five years is a long time to build a hotel, but the local preservation groups put up a fine fight over the height of Bennett’s proposed hotel (they saw it as out of context with the historic city center) and took him all the way to the state supreme court. They lost and, as proper Southern folks do, they shook hands and carried on. Regarding the extended delays on construction, Bennett says, “I got really working on the hotel 15 years ago, and then we got sued, so that delayed it for 12 years. Once we won, it took another year to get approval from the Board of Architectural Review, then four years to build.” He laughs, “I’m just looking forward to a good night's rest once I know I got this place open!”

The nine-story building was designed by classical architects Fairfax & Sammons and evokes a grand Italian palazzo-style building nestled onto Charleston’s bustling Marion Square. "Fairfax & Sammons had done a design charette ten to 15 years ago focused on bringing classical architecture back to Charleston and that really resonated with me,” Bennett says of his selection. "When I was in my late 20s, I was developing some of the sea islands and everyone was building these huge block buildings and I built 1920s-looking beach cottages with deep porches. I didn't want to go to the beach to be in a tall building with shag carpet. So I have always looked back in time to find what is right for the development.”

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