Nation's Biggest Bank Opens Luxury Hotel

The nation's largest bank is set to open a new Ritz-Carlton across the street from its corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 18-story, 146-room property will feature a penthouse spa and wellness center, over 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and a streetside BLT Steak restaurant.

Bank of America, who owes $45 billion in TARP money, did not use TARP funds to finance the hotel, spokesperson Scott Silvestri said. In fact, the bank started planning the luxury property four years ago.

Beyond having Bank of America as its backer, the new Ritz-Carlton is notable for its eco-friendly design. It will be the first LEED-designed new hotel in Charlotte, as its being built to achieve LEED Gold Certification. Scheduled to open in October 2009, it will also be the first green hotel in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Reactions to the hotel depend on who you talk to. Some say the hotel is a poor decision on Bank of America's part, as how many the construction of a new luxury hotel should not be the first thing on its To-Do list right now. At the same time, proponents highlight the economic benefits the hotel could hold for the city, not to mention the importance of its green design.

I find myself siding more with the latter group. It's certainly an inopportune time for Bank of America to do this, but if they didn't use TARP funds to build the hotel, then it's their decision. I wouldn't decry the construction of a green-friendly hotel anywhere else—why do it here?

What are your thoughts?
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