Downtown Salisbury, Inc. (DSI) and Black Point Investments, LLC (BPI) have signed a purchase and sale agreement for the Empire Hotel.

The initial purchase and sale agreement was signed in August 2016. The property will close once the development company has done its due diligence in meeting certain requirements in the preliminary development deal. We anticipate that the closing date will be in mid-2018.

It was anticipated that the property would close in August 2017, however due to the project financing structure recommended, the closing date has been rescheduled to August 1, 2018. Construction is scheduled to begin thereafter.

Black Point Investments’ principals have developed several large-scale historic properties including Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina; Johnston Mill Lofts, Columbus, Georgia; and Liberty Lofts and Townhomes in Atlanta, Georgia.

Five years ago the asking price for the Empire Hotel was $1.2 million, however the property had remained on the market for a number of years. In its latest RFP, DSI most desired a qualified developer with experience in redevelopment, who has a vision for a project that would make an impact on Salisbury’s downtown. DSI accepted an offer from Black Point Investments.

The plan includes ground-floor retail/commercial spaces and apartments with more apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

There is a final development agreement that both the developer and the City must explore and agree upon before the property closes and next steps are taken. Therefore the construction period will begin after the due diligence period has been completed and the property closes.

We anticipate that the redevelopment of the Empire Hotel will be an extensive process. While the developer may provide an anticipated timeline, the project could take a number of years to be completed. The developer will provide an expected completion date as the development agreement is closer to being finalized.

The City of Salisbury supports this project, however at this date the extent of the City’s role has not been determined. There are many factors that will determine the City’s role such as total project cost, financing options, developer requests and infrastructure needs of the project.

Apartments in the Empire Hotel will be priced at a market rate based on Salisbury market.

Yes. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment was completed on this site on July 1, 2016. There are recognized environmental concerns such as asbestos and building materials usual to the period of construction. A Phase II Environmental Assessment was completed in January 2017, and attempted to determine the presence and extent of contamination. It included sampling of soil, sediments, surface water, and ground water. This report concluded that the site has not been impacted by the identified Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) to an extent that requires specific mitigation or remediation measures to address them. The anticipated site improvements such as surface parking and historic rehabilitation of the building are sufficient to limit exposure to the low levels of compounds in the soil and groundwater. Specifically, soils will be covered by both the building and paved parking with minimal disturbance. Groundwater will not be in use. The site will be served by a public water supply. The Phase-II ESA is significant because it provides compelling data that there are no RECs that would stand in the way of redevelopment.

DSI and the City are working with the developer to evaluate eventual parking needs for this project. All parties involved will continue to work together to identify sufficient parking for the future.

BPI anticipates that the property will feature 62 apartments.

Local business is an important priority for Downtown Salisbury, Inc., BPI, and the City of Salisbury. Current tenants in the Empire Hotel building have been operating under a month-to-month lease due to the impending redevelopment in the area. We welcome the opportunity to work with these business owners to relocate their businesses in the immediate downtown area once their lease ends and construction begins.

It is too soon to tell what roadways will be impacted by the Empire Hotel construction project. What we do know is that we anticipate that impacts will be as minimal as possible for motorists in the immediate area of this project. Temporary traffic control measures will be put into place when needed to redirect vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Supporting local business is an important priority for Salisbury stakeholders and the project developers. It is important to remember that until construction begins, we will not yet know the mix of retail space.

Black Point Investments has shared its dedication to historic preservation in protecting not only the structure of the Hotel, but important architectural details. The developer is utilizing State and Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, which entail considerable review by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service to ensure that character-defining elements are preserved. In addition, the developer has begun the process to have the property designated as an historic Landmark, which will also help ensure the preservation of the building and its important features. While artist renderings have been created for the Empire Hotel Project, the specific use of other artifacts, relics or items has not yet been decided. Maintaining the historic integrity of the Empire Hotel is one of the developer’s top priorities.

The Empire Hotel is expected to included retail space on the first floor, street level. The retail stores or spaces have yet to be determined.

It is too early in the property’s redevelopment to determine the exact marketing audience for Empire Hotel apartments. However, in 2010, Downtown Salisbury, Inc., through a series of public meetings, discussions, and with much public input, published the Downtown Master Plan. One of the strategies outlined in the plan was the expansion of the downtown as a diverse, livable, urban residential district. In 2014 DSI hosted “Beyond the Curb”, a series of forums about making the downtown even more inviting and attractive for businesses, customers and residents. Expanding the number of apartments and making the downtown more inviting for residents was one of top priorities of participants. Most likely the project will be marketed to those who want to live in a downtown urban setting. The 62 market-rate apartments will be open to all potential residents. This audience will vary from millennials to empty nesters and retirees.

To date, the extent of the City’s role financially has not been determined. There are many factors that will determine the City’s role such as total project cost, financing options, developer requests and infrastructure needs of the project.

To date, the extent of the City’s role financially has not been determined. There are many factors that will determine the City’s role such as total project cost, financing options, developer requests and infrastructure needs of the project.

To date the City has not budgeted funds or otherwise set aside funds for this project.

The public always has an opportunity to weigh in on this project. In addition, any residents with questions as this project progresses can visit, call (704) 638-5230 or address questions to Empire Hotel Questions, 217 S. Main Street, Salisbury, NC 28144. Also, following an Open House in late 2017, another series of Open Houses will be available to all Salisbury residents in spring 2018.

Black Point Investments is currently pursuing financing with the intent to close on the property by August 2018.

The Empire Hotel project will offer 62 market-rate apartments.

The Hotel common area will be located on the second floor of the property. This space will be open to Empire Hotel residents only.

The developers are proposing to use Fibrant in the project.

The boarded windows on the Empire Hotel will be restored.

BPI will own and operate the Empire Hotel once the project is completed.

BPI chose Salisbury in which to develop this project due to its varied cultural, geographic, and economic gems, which are necessary for multi-million dollar projects to thrive. The Empire Hotel was the type of historic property for which BPI was searching to add to their mixed-use rehabilitation project portfolio. BPI has been working diligently with DSI, the City of Salisbury and other organizations to make this project a reality. Thus far, BPI has met a number of milestones required for the project to move forward. There is no doubt that the Empire Hotel Project is challenging. However, all of the development partners feel very confident that the time, effort, and investment in the rehabilitation of this historic structure will result in a jewel in the crown that is Downtown Salisbury.

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