Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Contract for sale of Market garage space approved

Hampton Inn and Suites in Greenville, SC sits on top of a garage.

The contract of sale for the 11,000 square feet of the ground floor portion of the Market garage was approved after a public hearing at city council Monday. Windsor/Aughtry Company, Inc. operating as Southern Commonwealth Partners LLC will pay $800,000 for the base of the garage to be used for a hotel lobby. They have 180 days to perform their due diligence.

The city will refinance $6.6 million in tax-exempt general obligation bonds for higher interest taxable bonds as a result of the private development plans. This will cost the city $60,000 per year through 2030. The proceeds from the sale along with the added tax revenue is expected to more than offset the cost of the refinancing.

During the due diligence period a parking agreement and maintenance agreement along with other contingencies will be negotiated.

Former Roanoke County Board of Supervisor and Norfolk Southern employee Mike Wray told council that N&S had 50 spaces reserved for N&S employees and that they were needing even more spaces in the Market garage. They pay $85 a month for each space. “We certainly want to continue that … we want to stay informed,” said Wray.

Mayor Bowers said he didn’t have concerns about parking and that he never has a problem finding a space.

There is monthly parking, reserved monthly parking, downtown resident parking, N&S parking and daily parking using the garage. “We will have to look at how the operations are allocated. It is too early to know how this will come out. As we go through that we will be mindful of the commitments we already have,” said assistant city manager Brian Townsend. He thought that the 506 spaces were enough to satisfy all needs without an adverse effect on downtown parking.

Councilman Sherman Lea said he had heard from hotel workers who said they were already experiencing reduced hours due to the hospitality industry decline. They were concerned about an over supply of hotels and further impact on the workforce.

Townsend said he trusted the judgement and that it would be two years before the hotel was completed He felt sure that the purchasers would consider market conditions during their due diligence period. As proof Townsend said that the occupancy tax has performed well in Roanoke and has “bucked other trends.”

Bill Bestpitch said that the Hotel Roanoke couldn’t handle large conferences and he expected that the Hampton Inn and Suites could handle the overflow. That might help the Hotel Roanoke and add additional hours for employees.

Paul “Bo” Aughtry III, principal president of the commercial division of Windsor/Aughtry said that he appreciated how the process was handled and how the city had sought them out.

There will be more opportunity and not. “What we will do is add jobs to downtown,” said Aughtry.

Parking hours for the hotel is expected to span from 8:30 p.m. and diminish by 6:30 a.m. Aughtry said, “If we are at 100% occupancy with the 125 room, only 70% of those 125 rooms would be using a vehicle.” The garage accommodates 506 vehicles.

Bowers said it was an exciting addition to Roanoke’s skyline and that guests would be able to view the Roanoke Star from their rooms. “The more the merrier,” he said.

Aughtry and council made it a point to thank the government for creating the infrastructure and downtown investment that made the project possible.


Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business

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