Boutique hotel opens in downtown Dalton, Georgia

The 41-room Carpentry showcases history on 'Peacock Alley'

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / The Carpentry Hotel, seen Jan. 10, opened Friday as a boutique hotel showcasing the history of Dalton and "Peacock Alley."
Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / The Carpentry Hotel, seen Jan. 10, opened Friday as a boutique hotel showcasing the history of Dalton and "Peacock Alley."

A 41-room boutique hotel opened in downtown Dalton over the weekend, and its owners say it will be "the gem of downtown" for the Carpet Capital.

The Carpentry Hotel — owned by Georgia state Rep. Kacey Carpenter, R-Dalton, his wife Julie and business partners Steve and Tammy Herndon — opened Friday and includes a rooftop bar called Twist on the three-story building. The boutique hotel at 204 W. Cuyler St. will be the first of its kind in downtown Dalton since the Dalton Hotel closed in 1973 and is located across the street from the Oakwood Cafe and the Cherokee Brewing + Pizza Co. which Carpenter also owns.

In a telephone interview, Carpenter said the Carpentry Hotel pays homage to the history of Dalton and the carpet industry, which grew out of the bedspread and textile industry that developed in Northwest Georgia in an area known as "Peacock Alley."

"There are old, historic photos in all the rooms, as well as a lot of peacock-themed artistry throughout the building," Carpenter said in a telephone interview. "Peacock themed art is used in the wallpaper, in some of the tilework, and there's a large painting by a local artist on the second level. That's a reference to Peacock Alley, which is what locals used to call the route Northerners used to take to come by handwoven bedspreads made in Dalton."


(READ MORE: Local governments help Georgia state representative with hotel)

The carpet industry developed in the Dalton area after World War II as an outgrowth of the bedspread industry located in an area called "Peacock Alley" because of the colors used in the bedspreads. Bedspreads went from being handwoven, to being made using tufting machines, and those machines were later used as carpet tufting machines.

Carpenter said he had talked with the Herndons about opening a hotel for three years. And they've been working on opening the doors for 18 months.

The original plan had been to convert an old bank building on the site into a hotel.

"But architecturally, it wasn't that great," Carpenter said. "So we tore that down and did new construction. It was just a cinder block building with no real architectural value. ... We haven't had any historian come yell at us for tearing it down."

Carpenter said he and his partners have spent about $8 million in personal money and financing loans on the hotel. Because the hotel is in the downtown allocation district, he was able to receive financing that would freeze taxes on the property value for the next 10 years.

In December 2018, Carpenter reached a tax increment financing agreement with the city and the Dalton school system to help finance the hotel. That original agreement called for Carpenter to finish the hotel on or before Dec. 31, 2019. Since Carpenter did not finish the hotel by that date, the deal expired and Carpenter applied and was granted a a new arrangement.

(READ MORE: Three new hotels open on I-75 at Shalllowford Road)

Under the agreement, taxes that will be collected on additional value created by improvements to the property will go to the hotel for infrastructure improvements to the area that will be made as part of the project.

"We feel good about it," Carpenter said. "It's fairly risky, but there's nothing like it down here. There's not as much tourism in Dalton as in Chattanooga. But just the size of it makes it manageable. We only have 41 rooms to fill."

He expects the local business industry will help fill the rooms, as well as locals looking for "staycations."

"We have a good hotel industry in Dalton, but it's mostly out by the interstate," Carpenter said. "But this is the only thing like this downtown. There's a lot of traffic up and down Highway 71 year-round, and the hope is to bring them downtown to have them enjoy what we have to offer here."

Contact Jennifer McNally at jmcnally@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.

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