Eminent domain proceedings on a building with historical significance in Hillsborough may be completed this year according to Tom Stevens, the town’s mayor.
The building sought for appropriation by the Hillsborough municipal government is the Colonial Inn, a hotel erected in 1838 that operated for over 130 years before falling into a state of disrepair.
The Carolina Inn was auctioned off in 2002 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to Francis Henry, a real estate mogul whose name appears on a stadium at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Since 2003, Henry has been embroiled in a dispute with town officials regarding the upkeep of his property and whether a public-private partnership should assume ownership of it.
Henry paid $400,000 for the Colonial Inn, but a report by the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative put the cost of restoring the property at $3 million.
Stevens noted that other development projects are planned for Hillsborough in the coming months, including the reconstruction of an historic Native American settlement that was once located along the banks of the Eno River.
Native Americans belonging to the Occaneechi tribe were discovered in 1701 by John Lawson near land on which the Hillsborough Farmer’s Market currently sits.
Stevens claimed the replica will add to the authenticity of Hillsborough by providing residents with an historical context for current events.