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Frequently Asked Questions

Who will purchase the Empire Hotel?

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

When will the property purchase be finalized?

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 before early 2019.

Why was there a delay in the property’s closing? We were told it originally was scheduled to close in August 2017.

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. Construction is scheduled to begin thereafter.

What other historic properties has Black Point Investments developed?

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.

For how much was the property listed?

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.

How much will the developer pay for the Empire Hotel?

$880,000

What is the development plan?

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

When is the construction of the apartments expected to begin? When will you start?

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.

When is the construction of the apartments expected to be completed?

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.

What is the City’s role in this development project?

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. Currently, the city is in discussions regarding a master lease agreement (please see proposed master lease agreement on this page).

For how much will the apartments rent?

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

Was there an environmental study done on the site? What were the results?

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.

Where will residents park once the project is completed? What do you expect in terms of parking when the project is completed?

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.

How many apartments does the developer anticipate?

BPI anticipates that the property will feature 50-65 apartments.

What will happen to the businesses in the immediate area of the Empire Hotel during construction?

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.

Will certain roadways be cut off during construction?

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.

Will there be efforts to support current organizations/businesses there? (I saw somewhere that Pedal Factory has secured a new space in downtown on E. Council St.)

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.

What will be preserved within the hotel? Will the project keep the building’s historic integrity?

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.

What retail will be included in this project?

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

To whom will this project be marketed? What kind of audience is this project’s focus in terms of age, income, local/transplant? Do you foresee most of the tenants coming from out of town?

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 50-65 market-rate apartments will be open to all potential residents. This audience will vary from millennials to empty nesters and retirees.

How much money will the City contribute to this project?

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 is in discussions regarding a proposed master lease agreement (please see the proposed master lease agreement on this page).

Where will the money come from that the City will contribute?

The proposed funding for the master lease will come from the Downtown Development Department and Development Revitalization Grants, totaling $80,000 from each entity. There are many factors that will determine any additional role, if any, such as total project cost, financing options, developer requests and infrastructure needs of the project.

Were funds budgeted by the City to financially contribute to the Empire Hotel?

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

Will the public have an opportunity to weigh in on 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 www.empiresalisbury.com, 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, Open Houses have occurred throughout 2018.

How close are we to having financing in place?

Black Point Investments is currently pursuing financing with the intent to close on the property by early 2019.

Will the Empire Hotel project include low-cost housing?

The Empire Hotel project will offer 50-65 market-rate apartments.

What sort of common areas will be present in the Empire Hotel?

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

Will the upstairs windows that are currently blocked be restored?

The boarded windows on the Empire Hotel will be restored.

Who will own and maintain the property, once developed?

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

How confident is the Return On Investment (ROI)? What is the level of confidence?

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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