One week from the one-year mark of Hurricane Irene, many areas are still dealing with storm damage, including a major hotel on the Crystal Coast.
The Sheraton Hotel at Atlantic Beach sustained major damage from the hurricane, including severe water damage inside the building. The hotel has been closed for repairs ever since. But with the one year anniversary of Irene approaching, local residents are beginning to wonder when the hotel will be reopened.
"Who would've expected a hotel that's been in business as many years as it has would all the sudden shut down that quickly," Eric Ellis, who lives and works near Atlantic Beach, said. Ellis said the now-vacant hotel is a very different place than what it used to be.
"They had good business on the pier," he said. "Now there's nothing."
A sign outside the hotel says it is closed for renovations. The business originally planned to reopen by the end of summer, but that date has been consistently moved back.
Hotel representatives could not be reached for comment, but the mayor of Atlantic Beach said the property is up for sale.
The town of Atlantic Beach recently entered an agreement to lease part of the hotel's parking lot out for public parking space.