Nov 14, 2022 - News

Tift Merritt's plans for renovating Gables Motor Lodge

Gables Motel Lodge

Gables Motor Lodge has been vacant since 2017. But plans for the historic hotel in Raleigh's Mordecai neighborhood are gaining momentum thanks to a beloved singer-songwriter and a Durham hotelier.

Driving the news: Raleigh-based singer Tift Merritt and Daniel Robinson, owner of The Durham hotel, are about to resume renovation of the Gables Motor Lodge, Merritt tells Axios.

  • The historic motor lodge dates back to the 1920s and was once a popular place to stop for those traveling on the old U.S. 1, which went from New York to Florida.

Why it matters: At a time when Raleigh residents have become increasingly anxious about the future of historic buildings from the last century, Merritt and Robinson plan would refurbish one of those structures, while also adding another boutique hotel option for the city.

Details: Gables would have 18 rooms under the renovation plans, according to Merritt.

  • Additionally, it would feature a bar, a "funky" library and gathering spaces both indoors and outdoors.
  • Merritt and Robinson are aiming for construction to begin early next year.

What she's saying: "What I hope we can be is a retreat space for dreaming and maybe the Bohemian headquarters of Raleigh," Merritt said.

  • "Gables has been a heart project that we've been working on for years now and I am so looking forward to having it be a gathering place."

Of note: Merritt said she's been consulting with a friend on the project, Liz Lambert, who has built a small empire of boutique hotels in Texas, like the Hotel San José and Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin.

Bigger picture: The growing Triangle has attracted a new generation of boutique hotels looking to take advantage of increased travel to the region and a thirst for unique places to drink and eat. Downtown Durham was on the forefront with The Durham, 21C Museum Hotel and The Unscripted.

  • Other recent projects include the Heights House, the Longleaf Hotel and Cary's Mayton Inn.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Raleigh.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Raleigh stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Raleigh.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more