Home Local News Regal Inn Owners Given 90 Days to Show Progress

Regal Inn Owners Given 90 Days to Show Progress

Regal Inn - Current Condition
Photo by William R. Toler

ROCKINGHAM — A burned-out hotel that some in Richmond County have deemed an “eyesore” should soon start showing signs of revival. 

Owners of the Regal Inn — along with their architect, engineer and general contractor — met Aug. 15 with city officials for a hearing, according to Building Inspector Tim Combs.

“The city had had enough complaints that we had to move forward and they had to move forward, also,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “It had sat there long enough.”

An early morning fire swept through the hotel in late January of 2017, with three departments —Rockingham, Hamlet and Cordova — responding. Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler indicated that the top floor was fully engulfed by the time crews arrived. 

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Despite speculation that the fire was caused by a “meth lab” — especially since one had been discovered there a few months prior — Police Chief Billy Kelly said that nothing indicated the presence of a lab in the room where the fire started and that an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deemed the cause of the fire “undetermined.” 

Combs said property owners have 90 days to demolish the remnants or apply for a building permit for construction.  “If they show considerable progress that they’re working toward getting the building back to a habitable condition, we’ll continue to work with them,” said City Planner John Massey, who is also the assistant city manager.  If not, he continued, the city will continue with the condemnation process, which ultimately results in the city demolishing the building and putting a tax lien on the property. 

Unfolding a set of architectural plans that were brought to the hearing, Combs said it appears that a new hotel, similar to the old one, is in the works at the same location. The drawings indicate that the new building may have a greater number of handicapped-accessible rooms than did the previous structure.  But, he added, more engineering plans are required before he can issue any permits. 

Editor’s note: This article was contributed by William R. Toler, the newest addition to the talented team of writers at the Richmond Observer.

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