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Marriott upgrade is a vote of confidence

ON Oct. 30, 1980, at the urging of football legend Sam Huff, a vice president of the company at the time, the Marriott hotel chain took a chance on Charleston and broke ground on a vacant lot that was part of the city's Superblock.

The hotel opened two years later. Now, 2.8 million guests later, the Charleston Town Center Marriott has held another celebration, this time for an $8 million renovation of the 352-room, full-service hotel.

Charleston developed Superblock, a large tract cleared by urban renewal, into something special. The city has evolved into an upscale regional retail center and convention destination.

Since the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd and others attended that groundbreaking, several valuable amenities have been added at various locations around Charleston:

  • The Charleston Town Center mall.
  • A county judicial annex.
  • A modern federal courthouse.
  • The Clay Center.
  • Appalachian Power Park.
  • Haddad Riverfront Park.
  • Yeager Airport has evolved into a modern, regional airport. Mountain Stage has become a national radio show. The annual Regatta has given way to a long list of special events throughout the summer.

    Even the Capitol is shinier as the dome was re-gilded.

    Charleston leaders have given people a reason to visit the city. The city has been aggressive in attracting conventions.

    Investors have noticed. The Charleston House is undergoing renovations. So is the mall, as is the Charleston Marriott, which toasted its remodeling on Tuesday.

    Over the last 30 years, Dolly Parton stayed there, as did Muhammad Ali, Tom Selleck and dozens if not hundreds of other celebrities.

    This investment guarantees there will be a home away from home for many more people over the next few decades, as long as the city gives them a good reason to come here.


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