CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – After what authorities are calling a suspicious fire last week, officials with the Historic Charleston Foundation say much of the Pine Tree Hotel avoided damage because it had recently been dismantled and moved offsite ahead of renovations.

The National Park Service, African American Civil Rights Grant Program awarded a grant in 2019 for the renovation of the hotel, which was integral to Charleston’s Black community. After delays due to COVID-19 and permitting, the process finally got underway in March of 2022.

Since the hotel had been vacant for so long, it will require “an almost total rebuild as part of the rehabilitation,” according to Justin Schwebler with the Historic Charleston Foundation. Ahead of the rebuild, crews began deconstructing the hotel “to salvage as much historic material as possible.”

Schwebler went on to explain that because of the deconstruction, “only a very small portion of the back wall and some flooring was destroyed by the fire.” He noted that since the organization already “anticipated almost total reconstruction for the hotel,” the fire has not set back progress “in a significant way.”

Once the investigating police and fire departments conclude their reviews, the Charleston Historic Foundation plans to pull permits and begin new construction as soon as possible.