Smith County finalizes sale of Tyler's Carlton Hotel

TYLER, Texas (KETK) - The sale of the Carlton Hotel in downtown Tyler was finalized today.

In August, the Smith County Commissioners Court voted to approve accepting an offer from Dallas-based developer Tai Ly to buy the old hotel, which also served as the Smith County Office Building for years.

The 90,000-square-foot facility remained vacant for years. Tai Ly purchased the facility, at 106, 112 and 116 E. Elm St. for $537,500.

"Returning the dilapidated Carlton Hotel complex back to a private business, with a plan to develop it in the next few years, is the highest and best long-term use for that property," Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said. "This will help promote economic development in the county seat and serve to compliment the City of Tyler's longstanding efforts to revitalize downtown."

Burns Commercial Properties LLC was the broker for Smith County on the sale. Closing documents for the sale were signed on Friday, January 12.

According to the contract, the buyer agreed to make improvements to the property within 36 months after closing, in accordance with some requirements set out by the county. The total costs of the improvements must be at least $1 million, including demolition costs and fees of architects and engineers.

Within 90 days after closing, the buyer agreed to apply for any permits. Construction should start within 9 months of closing. Within 18 months of closing, the buyer should have paid at least $650,000 of the improvement costs.

Smith County representatives or agents can also inspect the property upon request, from time to time, to verify compliance, according to the contract.


It was described as an ultra-modern high-rise hotel when the 16-story, 200-room Carlton Hotel opened in downtown Tyler in 1954. When it opened, air conditioning units and five-channel TV sets in each room were large draws for the hotel. It also boasted a roof-top pool and cabanas, a banquet hall/ballroom, a coffee shop and an automatic elevator.

The Carlton has 15 stories, as well as a basement. There is no 13th floor.

After 17 years in business, the Carlton Hotel was shuttered in 1971, and remained vacant before being purchased by Smith County in 1977.

For years, the Carlton was the Smith County Office Building, housing such departments as the Smith County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's Office, Adult Probation, Fire Marshal's Office, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace and Constable Offices. The last of the Smith County offices moved out of the Carlton around 2013.

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