NEWBERRY — In July of 2016 Joe and Mary McDonald purchased the old 25,000-square-foot Newberry Hotel in Downtown Newberry. At that time they had a lot of ideas of what they wanted to turn the old hotel into.
Today, construction has begun, and all the plans have been solidified. The old hotel will be upgraded to help expand the Newberry Arts Program, a venue space, rentable meeting spaces, a tavern and apartments. Joe McDonald said construction is projected to take about a year, and should be completed at the end of this year.
So what exactly will the new old hotel look like?
The downstairs will be an open venue space, for people to rent for parties, weddings, etc.
“The whole thing is 25,000 square feet, the downstairs, I’m guessing is about 10,000 square feet. We would hire a manager to manage the apartments and the venue retails and that sort of thing,” McDonald said.
The main entrance for the venue space will be on the Caldwell Street side, and some walls will be removed downstairs to open it up. The downstairs will also have hardwood floors installed, and bathrooms will be added, as well a caterer’s kitchen.
“Right now there is the pottery studio, in what was once the restaurant for the hotel, but the front part of it will be venue space, the pottery studio will be moved. Behind there will be space for a tavern,” McDonald said. “The doors that lead to the restaurant, that still have the advertising that it was air conditioned, will be moved and placed somewhere else.”
Also downstairs will be a roll away desk, where the hotel check-in use to be. McDonald said that could be used like the Opera House, for people to be stationed to give tours.
The new bathrooms and catering kitchen will be behind what was the main lobby, where the venue space will be. The courtyard will also be available to rent, either with the venue space inside, or on its own. The second staircase that is near the courtyard entrance will be removed to give more of an open space.
“Also down here, there is going to be a wall, as you turn left toward the elevator, there will be a display case with artifacts and mementos displaying the history of the hotel,” McDonald said.
Moving upstairs, the first layer of flooring is being removed, to reveal the subflooring. Upstairs on the right side will be artist studios, called the atrium. The rooms that were sealed up at one point, and then revealed about 10 years ago, will now be bathrooms and a bridal room.
“Be a sitting room for a bride and bridesmaids, nice bathroom with counter space and mirrors,” McDonald said.
That will be located in the room overlooking the courtyard on the right.
Other rooms on that side of the building will be converted into office space or art studios. The elevator will also be located on that side in the room that faces the courtyard to the left. Many of the hotel rooms will be combined to make a bigger room, either for a studio, meeting room or an apartment.
The left and right side will have a wall that separates the two, a stairway will be added to go down to one of the downstairs locations on Caldwell Street.
“That is for safety and ease of access for people in the apartments,” McDonald said.
On the apartment side, there will be nine apartments, one of which will have two bedrooms, the others will have one bedroom. Rooms will include a fireplace, kitchen space, living space, bathroom and sleeping space.
“The tower room will be a short term apartment, and will not be permanently rented because we want access to that room. We want people to be able to come in and see this. Could be a space for someone from the Opera House who is performing,” McDonald said.
From new housing to new businesses, the renovated hotel will bring many people Downtown. One part McDonald is happy to see is the expanded arts program.
“They’ll have the corner store where there are art classes, they will also move into the one next door. Then the studios will be available for them, and classroom space. A lot more opportunities for the arts program,” he said.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.