Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Market Garage Hotel and Huff Lane School Sale

Sean Luther of Downtown Roanoke Incorporated and Beth Doughty executive director for the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership took a field trip to Greenville, South Carolina. They brought back representatives of the Windsor/Aughtry Company with them.

The Company operating as South Commonwealth Partners, LLC is planning to purchase an 11,500 square foot ground floor portion of the Market Garage and a portion of the associated air rights above the facility for $800,000. The ground floor is slated to be the hotel lobby for a three story 123-room Hampton Inn & Suites that will sit on top of the Garage on Church Street adjacent to Fire Station No. 1. A public hearing is scheduled for August 20.

“This agreement will allow the developer to begin their due diligence period during which formal designs will be created in detail. The development agreement will reveal much more and we’re hoping this will come together over the next few months,’ said Economic Development Manager Rob Ledger in an e-mail.

“Until a full due diligence period is completed we won’t have 100 percent final data. Conceptually speaking, the hotel will be on top of the garage and be connected via an elevator from the lobby,” said Ledger. There are 506 spaces in the garage and it is unclear how many or how the spaces would be utilized by a hotel and if the guests would be assessed an added fee for parking that would be passed on to the city.

The details of a development agreement outlining the specific roles and responsibilities of the parties for the development of the hotel, as well as a parking and maintenance agreement will be worked out over the next several months. “The details/concepts that we have to date will be part of the council package sent out prior to the August 20th,” said Ledger. The public will have access at that time.

According to their website Windsor/Aughtry has developed hotels in Greenville, S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Tallahassee, Fla. A Hampton Inn located in downtown Greenville includes a fitness center and balconies. There will be no restaurant in Roanoke’s Hampton Inn.

“I don’t think they every heard of Roanoke before,” said city manager Chris Morrill. When they came to Roanoke they were pleased to see all the people milling about and the vitality of Roanoke’s downtown. They almost missed seeing what they were really looking for as they passed by the Market Garage right in the hub of downtown activity.

Morrill said that they saw Roanoke as “a place worth investing in.” That was over a year ago. “A whole team of city employees worked on this for more than twelve months,” he said.

There are a lot of legal issues to work through when putting a private building on top of a public garage. “There will be some impact on parking,” said Morrill. He believes parking for the hotel would mostly be a night. City engineers also had to determine if the garage structure could sustain a three-story hotel.

In Other Business: the sale price of the Huff Lane school property agreement with NDRA II, LLC dated March 28 was reduced from $1,850,000 to $1,735,000. During their due diligence they discovered that the cost of mitigating the asbestos was more costly than anticipated. The additional cost comes to $150,000.

They also found that Water Service to the property was insufficient and the plan is to reach either across Valley View Boulevard to tap into an eight-inch water pipe or reach south of Huff Lane park to an alternative pipe. The estimate for that is approximately $78,000.

For the water service access NDRA will need easements and the purchase agreement is contingent on acquiring the necessary easements. “The reduced price is still substantially more then the second offer,” said Morrill.

Round Hill Elementary school is waiting for relief for its ailing structure and over crowding requiring use of trailers for classrooms.

See the other offers for the Huff Lane property HERE.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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