CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A hotel project seen as crucial to Charleston’s economic recovery, may be in trouble. People close to the project tell us it may not happen, or at the very least could be delayed even longer.

The new hotel in Downtown Charleston was supposed to be a boost not only for the city but also for the flagging mall right next door. But as more and more time goes by — with little or no progress — many people are wondering what’s the holdup?

The hotel is supposed to be located on the west end of the Charleston Town Centre Mall, in the now vacant former Sears store. But demolition of the building is on hold for now. The specifics behind the delay have not been confirmed, but sources tell us it involves a dispute between the owner of the mall and the hotel developer.

What everyone does agree on is that Downtown Charleston, in fact, the whole region out to Huntington, needs more hotel rooms. Much of that need has exploded due the to youth soccer boom fueled by the construction of the Shawnee Sports Complex in Kanawha County and a smaller complex in Cabell County.
Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, was the brainchild behind Shawnee Sports Complex and says several more hotels are needed including the one downtown.

“One of the first things that tournaments and other events ask about when they are coming into a community for the first time is, what’s the hotel capacity? And so we’ve seen a number of larger tournaments have reservations about coming into Kanawha County and the Kanawha Valley because of the lack of hotels. It’s incredibly important that this deal go through,” said Commissioner Ben Salango, of Kanawha County.

Commissioner Salango is not involved with the Charleston Town Centre mall, nor the proposed hotel.
The City of Charleston is trying to facilitate that effort. But he says multiple hotels would help boost travel to the entire region. and he adds that Shawnee soccer tournaments have already brought in 100 million dollars to the county, with another 30 million projected for next summer.

We did reach out to the mall owners, the company hoping to build the hotel here, as well as the convention and visitors bureau, but so far we’ve received no comment.