The Smith County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved the sale of the old Carlton Hotel.

Dallas-based developer Tai Ly won the building with an offer of $537,500.

The county declined to release further documentation until it is signed, which is expected to happen later today.

A feasibility study completed last year showed it would cost an estimated $46 million to turn the Carlton into an adequate facility to house the county’s district courts. Those numbers weren't feasible for the county.

The county commissioned Burns Commercial Properties to help find a suitable buyer for the eyesore in downtown Tyler’s skyline.

Under the contract with Burns Commercial Properties, the broker had a year to find a suitable buyer for the Carlton.

Smith County will require the developer to get the necessary building permits within 90 days after the property closes.

It also will require the developer to invest at least $1 million into the project, and spend $650,000 toward those improvements within the first 18 months.

Burns Commercial’s services will receive 6 percent of the selling price as a brokerage fee. That fee will be paid by the county, not the buyer.


From 1954 to 1971, the Carlton was one of Tyler’s most luxurious hotels.

The 115,000-square-foot structure, built in 1954 at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Elm Street, had a three-story, 126-space parking garage as well as a rooftop swimming pool and cabana.

The county bought it in 1977 and began moving offices there in 1979, after some remodeling.

The building housed the sheriff’s office and probation department for decades.

The offices slowly were moved into renovated facilities in the 2000s, and the last Smith County office moved out of the space in late 2013. Since then, it’s sat vacant.