Ely Portillo of the UPoR writes:

Charlotte’s uptown apartment market is booming, and office towers are springing up. But it’s another sector – hotels – that’s quietly laying the groundwork for even more dramatic growth.

The new hotels proposed and under construction would add about 1,900 rooms uptown and in surrounding neighborhoods, increasing the hotel room supply by 42 percent.

Some industry-watchers caution that not all of the announced projects will be built. Right now, developers are racing to line up financing before interest rates rise.

But even if all 1,900 rooms come online, city boosters say that still might not be enough.

Charlotte, they say, needs a 1,000-room hotel, the crown jewel of convention business that allows the biggest groups to book all their attendees under one roof. So far, all of the planned growth is from smaller hotels, between roughly 150 and 400 rooms.

And, of course, that really big hotel will need a lot of public money to happen. A big hotel built with big public money would in turn make a convenient argument for the city to double down on the convention business. The problem? When you look closely at convention business, as the Charlotte Observer did in 2012, the numbers are pretty ugly. And critically, conventions are nowhere as important to the hotel business locally as they were in the past.