HIGH POINT — American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame representatives say they are moving forward with plans for a $10 million headquarters in downtown High Point.
Construction is expected to start this fall on a major renovation and expansion of 311 S. Hamilton St., a former High Point Market showroom that the Hall of Fame's foundation arm purchased in 2019 to serve as its permanent home.
It will include event space for the furnishings industry during Markets, as well as year-round exhibits open to the public, Hall of Fame CEO Karen McNeill said.
"Ours will be a hybrid of being a discovery center and a museum," she said. "It's going to be significant for our industry at Market, but this building will also be a living, public space with changing exhibits."
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the foundation's plans for the Hall of Fame when it halted a fundraising campaign. The campaign has since resumed and is far enough along that the organization's board felt comfortable with starting construction, McNeill said.
The 17,500-square-foot building will undergo extensive renovations, and a 6,000-square-foot addition will be built on the front.
Designed by Freeman Kennett Architects of High Point, the new space will incorporate glass, steel, concrete and digital images that depict the Hall of Fame's inductees.
The general contractor for the project will be New Atlantic Contracting, which has worked on several showroom projects in the market district.
A ceremonial groundbreaking is planned for Oct. 15, the day before the official opening of fall Market. McNeill said organizers hope to begin construction the first week of December. The goal is to have the Hall of Fame open by April 2023.
The exhibits are being designed by Roto, an Ohio firm that "specializes in museum-quality exhibits, in understanding what kind of things are attracting people today and how interactive it needs to be," she said.
Organized by four themes, the exhibits will be presented as the industry, the people, the process and the products, featuring interactive displays designed to teach and entertain.
"It will be really geared toward tourism," McNeill said.