WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Blockade Runner Beach Resort, which has welcomed guests to Wrightsville Beach for 55 years, reopened Friday after fixing some of the damage from Hurricane Florence.
The oceanfront resort closed for renovations on Oct. 10, 2018, nearly a month after Florence slammed into Wrightsville Beach with heavy rains and winds up to 100 miles per hour. The Blockade Runner suffered nearly $10 million in damages during the storm.
The hotel opened 80 rooms on Friday. The main tower, restaurant, and all public areas are open.
There was excitement in the air as employees welcomed guests again.
“We really can’t put it into words,” said Nicolas Montoya, the hotel’s general manager. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s been a long five months since Hurricane Florence came by and visited us. Many in our community are still hurting. We’re just very lucky to have a national company that was here from day one helping us deal with the tremendous damages.”
It will be another month or longer before all rooms are available. The ballroom, however, remains closed.
“We’re just thankful to the community locally, to Wrightsville Beach residents and visitors, and to all of the multi-generational families of North Carolina that have been with us sending messages of support and encouragement and are here this weekend to help us reopen,” Montoya said.
The Blockade Runner was designated a historic landmark by the Historic Wilmington Foundation and has 120 waterfront rooms in the tower building and 30 oceanfront rooms in the balcony building.
Montoya said he wants to make sure visitors know the beach is open for business.
“I think people are getting the message to come back to the beach, back to Wrightsville Beach, to Wilmington and to New Hanover County, which is very important,” said Montoya.