Hotel project ‘not dead’ according to city officials

Multiple funding streams haven’t resulted in the outcome city officials had hoped, but efforts are still underway to bring a proposed downtown hotel project to fruition.

A federal BUILD grant application was unsuccessful and a state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program application resulted in less funding than initially requested.

“The hotel project is not dead,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said. “The developer is considering the cost to construct, the size of the lot and the amount of the grant.”

The application initially sought $7,026,000 through the state’s RACP funds to be matched locally by the assessed value of city property, a loan to be taken out by the city and private investment.

$2.5 million was awarded in June.

“The city requested and received an extension until May to complete the application and business plan for the 2018 award,” she said. “The contents of these documents depends on the action taken by the developer.”

Total cost of the project, according to the RACP application filed in April, is $14,052,000, according to a previous Times Observer report.

The application details that the city is looking to use the appraised value of the city-owned property along Clark St. where the hotel would be built – appraised at $1,026,000 – as part of a match along with private investment totaling $4,584,000 with “the remainder of the match being proceeds of a $1,416,000 loan to be taken by the City.”

The property the city owns where the hotel would be located would be “sold or donated subject to the terms and conditions of the RACP award.”

Numerous infrastructure projects are outlined in the application – curbs, catch basins, storm sewers as well as “sidewalk, conduit, traffic control, temporary pedestrian access, light poles, electric panels and wiring and terminations,” according to the application.

The application also details the hotel proposal.

“Brimark Builders, LLC is the construction arm of Cobblestone Inn & Suites and this estimate was prepared based on recent projects of similar scope and size and is representative of industry standards,” the application states. “It is anticipated that a 40 to 60 room hotel will be constructed on the site with the developer to be determined.”

One potential funding stream – the federal Opportunity Zone program – has yet to come into focus.

“Final (regulations) for the Opportunity Zone Program have not been released,” Freenock said.