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May 09, 2009

We Want Oprah to be Sipping Drinks by the Pool, Waving to Friends in the Plaza

The Upper Deck Patio and Pool

The Upper Deck to CCB

The Upper Deck

Changes in the last year: Ronnie Sturdivant got shot.  "We Want Oprah" signage came down.  "We Got Obama" signage went up.  Oprah got Elizabeth Edwards.  And Duke Got Oprah.

Meanwhile, the old Washington Duke / Jack Tar Motel remains mostly in rot.  Blue Coffee is the standout tenant.  A few others pay rent and the parking deck gets a dozen or so fares each day.  What a waste.  What a drain on Durham's energy.  On this, all agree.

But I'll go minority voice with a followup: I think it's an excellent (and rare) good example of 1960s-modern commercial architecture in Durham.  Clean it up and take away the air conditioning units, and you'd have a very hip collection of hotel rooms or urban apartments.  Of course, I'm sure that whoever owns the building (Hank Scherich and the Sturdivant heirs perhaps?) has plans that start with "tear it down".  But I can dream, can't I?

Imagine summertime drinks by the pool, waving to friends in the plaza...  Did you even know they had a pool?



Pardon the craptastic photos. It was grey day and even it wasn't, my Blackberry camera sucks eggs.

11:10 PM in Destination Durham | Permalink


In Tucson, there is a similar vintage motel that the University of Arizona converted a combination of student housing, auxillary offices, and a handful of small classrooms. I always had a strange mixture of envy and sympathy for anyone whose office looked out over the pool (which was regularly surrounded by co-eds...)

Posted by: B | May 11, 2009 8:55:36 AM

There's a POOL back there?! I hear ya about the 60's look, but I think I'd go for the tear down...

Posted by: Sandy | Jan 26, 2010 8:52:25 PM