El Berta Motel to close its doors after 55 years

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A Wilmington landmark closed its doors after 55 years of serving the community.

The El Berta Motor Inn on Market Street shut down Sunday morning after checkout.

The Prevatte family has owned the business since 1978, but the King family originally built the motel in 1953.

Over the years, the El Berta has provided shelter for many hurricane and fire evacuees.

"They have always been gracious and just a good partner with the Red Cross and this had been times when people are going through disasters and the loss of a home and that type of thing," said Victoria King with the American Red Cross.  "So it's been a good partnership."

The Prevatte family also owns the Sleep Inn and Main Stay Suites Motels on Market Street and say they'll open those doors to evacuees, if needed.

The family said the El Berta Motel is aging, and it's time to close it down.

"We have 55 year old plumbing, 55 year old electrical lines and just the age of the building," said owner Mike Prevatte.

The motel has a lot of history, including providing employment for Michael Jordan when he was in high school.

"He cut the grass, emptied the trash, and kept the pool clean for us," said Mike.

While business has dwindled over the years, Mike says that's not why they're closing the motel.

"We knew that one day the time would come when it would make more sense to do something different on this property," said Mike Prevatte.

The Prevatte family said they will tear down the motel and build something new in its place, but they say Whitey's restaurant will remain open.

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