Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, (Salisbury, N.C.) -- Downtown Salisbury, Inc. (DSI) has signed a real estate contract that may provide for the long-awaited redevelopment of the historic Empire Hotel on South Main Street.
Historic Preservation Partners Holdings, LLC (HPPH), renowned in North Carolina for developing the Loray Mill in Gastonia, has signed a purchase and sale agreement with plans to develop the property into market-rate apartments.
Initial plans also provide for the development of retail storefronts along South Main Street, including the retail space in the former Montgomery Ward main floor, mezzanine and basement. Combined, the project will allow for approximately 29,000 square feet of retail space.
The Empire Hotel was built in 1855 by local attorney Nathaniel Boyden, opening to the public three years later as a “first class hotel” on the heels of the railroad’s arrival in Salisbury. Then known as the Boyden House, the property also housed permanent residents throughout its 100-year operating history. After years of substantial renovations and management turnover, the hotel finally closed its doors in 1963. DSI purchased the hotel in 2007 from the Ragsdale family of Jamestown, N.C., with the intention of stabilizing and developing the property.
The City will consider entering into a preliminary development agreement with HPPH in the near future. This agreement will outline issues that will need be resolved prior to a final decision. The agreement does not commit the City to assist in the project but does provide an outline of the issues that need to be addressed prior to a decision by the City Council.
The Empire Hotel project is contingent upon the positive outcome of several factors such as a market feasibility study, financial feasibility analysis, planning review and community input. The developer is proceeding with an expectation that the sale agreement will close in August 2017, with groundbreaking to begin in 2018.