|By Andrew Barksdale, The Fayetteville
Observer, N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
September 14, 2010 --The developer of a new hotel and conference center near Cross Creek Mall will receive more than $400,000 in tax incentives, the Fayetteville City Council agreed Monday.
The owners of Five Points Hospitality Inc. say they will build a 167-room Embassy Suites with an 18,000-square-foot conference center on Lake Valley Drive, off Skibo Road. The estimated $30 million project will employ 160 people once built.
The Fayetteville City Council voted 10-0 to approve the incentives package that will rebate a little more than half of the property taxes over five years, totaling about $375,000 in incentives depending on the final construction costs. The council also agreed to waive half of the building permits, for an estimated savings of $45,000 for the developer.
Doug Peters, president of the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce, said growth in the city and on Fort Bragg is driving demand for a "top-notch, four-star hotel." He said the project would attract more visitors, government meetings and out-of-town conventions, boosting the overall economy.
In 2008, a BRAC Regional Task Force study said the county needed a four-diamond rated hotel and more convention space. Forces Command and the Army Reserve Command are relocating to Fort Bragg by next summer. A grassroots initiative called Greater Fayetteville Futures II made a high-end hotel and convention center one of its priorities.
The council was required to hold a public hearing Monday on the proposed incentives. No one signed up to speak.
Five Points owns the Hilton Garden Inn on Sycamore Dairy Road and the Holiday Inn Express on Skibo Road.
The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners will consider a similar incentives package Sept. 20 for the same project. The county proposes to "grant back" a portion of the property taxes after construction for five years.
The city's incentives approved Monday also include a low-interest, 10-year loan of $500,000 from the city's dam-restoration fund. The money will be used to address wetlands problems on the 10-acre site before construction begins. The city also will build a bus shelter at the hotel. The shelter will help Embassy Suites become nationally certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, said City Manager Dale Iman.
Iman said the city-owned Public Works Commission will chip in about $100,000 in additional savings to the developer, but the money is not considered an incentives package. He said the PWC has a "utility of choice" policy of waiving certain fees when someone chooses the PWC over another utility for electricity, water and sewer service.
Taxi fare hikes sought
In other business, the taxi cab industry is looking for another increase in fares in Fayetteville.
Joseph Robinson, owner and operator of Light Force Taxi Service, told the council he has presented the city with a petition seeking to raise the fare to $2.10 for the first one-sixth of a mile and 37 cents for each additional sixth of a mile.
The current fares, which the council raised in 2008, are $2 for the first one-sixth of a mile, and 35 cents for each additional sixth of a mile.
Whether the council will consider the petition has not been decided.
Staff writer Andrew Barksdale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3565.
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