A part of the heart of Auburn will soon stop beating.
The Heart of Auburn Inn and Suites, an Auburn landmark for more than 50 years, will close its doors for good possibly by the end of the year according to Mike Landers, who has worked the historic hotel’s front desk for three and half years.
A sign recently posted beneath the marquee for Fine Garden, a Chinese restaurant operating in the same complex, states that Birmingham-based Orange Development Inc. will convert the property into “The Shoppes at The Heart of Auburn,: a 17,000 square foot shopping center anchored by CVS.
Landers said the property was sold to CVS approximately three weeks ago; another employee said Arvind Patel, the hotel’s owner, had been looking for buyers “for a while.” Landers anticipates the Heart of Auburn to be torn down and for construction to begin in early 2013, though a Heart of Auburn spokesperson says that no dates have been finalized. Further details are expected to be announced in a forthcoming press release.
The Heart of Auburn opened as the Heart of Auburn Motel in 1961 (here’s how it looked in its glory days) and for several years was one of Auburn’s few hotel options. Now it’s merely one of several area hotels operated by Patel, who also owns the Lexington Inn near College Street and East University Drive, where Landers will begin work when the Heart of Auburn closes.
“It’s alright, I guess,” Landers says of the news. “It (the Heart of Auburn) really only does business during football season anyway.”
One bit of football season business it did 40 years ago is part of Auburn lore.
“My parents had come down to hear the announcement,” said legendary Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan, speaking to TWER’s Kenny Smith last year about winning the Heisman Trophy in 1971. “Our TV went on the blink so we had to go rent a room at the Heart of Auburn.”
h/t Kenny Smith.
[Story updated Oct. 2 with date corrections.]
Related: Vintage Heart of Auburn Postcard.
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