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Crews begin demolishing troubled Red Carpet Inn in Greenwood

WRTV Investigates starting raising questions in 2022 about the health and safety of the hotel
Posted at 1:10 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 16:59:03-05

GREENWOOD — A Greenwood hotel once known for its Cinderella and Alien Invasion themed suites is no more.

Crews began tearing down the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites on Tuesday following a judge’s order that granted the City of Greenwood’s request to demolish the troubled property.

WRTV Investigates starting raising questions in 2022 about the health and safety of the hotel after the operations manager was found dead, and a mother found a man inside her room going through her credit cards.

PREVIOUS | Greenwood man avoids prosecution after ‘scary’ encounter at hotel

Donald Matthews, the new owner of the property, said they began demolishing Tuesday because they finally got the buildings cleared out.

“The City of Greenwood has been more than favorable with helping us get the permits to get this in the process,” said Matthews. “They sped the whole process up for us to come.”

Matthews said they’ve found a lot of interesting things, including a fully operational 1959 pink Cadillac.

No word yet on what is next for the property, which is located at 117 E Main St., in Greenwood, right off of I-65.

"I am excited to see this structure finally come down, it will be an improvement for the area and help with public safety," said Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers in a statement to WRTV. "Once the demolition is complete, Ray's Demolition intends to sell the property. The owner of Ray's has asked to come in and work with the city to find the proper use for this land."

 The mayor said he's looking forward to "new opportunities in this space to come alongside the great businesses in that area." 

Last year, a Johnson County judge ruled the demolition could move forward.

  • March 17- City of Greenwood building commissioner issued order of demolition for the Red Carpet Inn
  • April 21- Hotel’s owner, Lodging & Trade LLC and Ahmed Mubarak, filed petition to stay (halt) the demolition
  • April 22- Judge granted the hotel owner’s petition, effectively pausing the demolition
  • November 15- Judge held hearing in which hotel owner said he no longer had legal representation;
  • November 21- Judge vacated the stay, effectively allowing the city to proceed with the demolition

On November 15, the City of Greenwood made its case before Johnson County Judge Marla Clark to continue with tearing down the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites.

“This place is a dangerous nuisance,” said William Barrett, attorney for the City of Greenwood. “Things will get worse than they are.”

City of Greenwood Building Commissioner Kenneth Seal shared pictures with the court taken November 15 which showed broken windows, graffiti, fire damage and other vandalism at the hotel.

The city says the photos are proof the hotel needs to be demolished for public safety reasons.

Building Commissioner Kenneth Seal testified November 15 that the city has spent more than 100 man hours at the hotel since the demolition order was issued in April 2023, including police, fire, building and code enforcement.