Contract negotiations to start for Empire Hotel sale

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — City government’s efforts to sell the Empire Hotel are continuing on schedule, Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander said Tuesday.

The City Council on Tuesday night instructed a consulting firm to begin contract negotiations with Historic Preservation Partners for the Empire Hotel, which sits vacant but has a history dating back to the 1850s. In August, the city said Historic Preservation Partners had signed a purchase agreement for the property. That agreement is expected to be finalized by August of this year.

Historic Preservation Partners transformed the Loray Mill in Gastonia. The company has renovated more than 3 million square feet of historic properties and invested more than $1 billion in such projects.

The City Council’s decision came late Tuesday night after a closed session in which members talked with a consultant hired to help with the project, Alexander said. She announced the decision after the council came out of the closed-door meeting.

In January, the Empire Hotel cleared a significant hurdle when an environmental study showed that past uses of the area would not prevent redevelopment.

“That part of the due diligence is done, and now it’s moving to the next level,” Alexander said.

She said the project is on schedule for the expected date for closing of the sale.

At the time a purchase agreement was announced in 2016, city officials said the purchase price would be $888,000.

Alexander said the city would know how much it is expected to participate in redevelopment of the Empire after contract negotiations are complete.

The council did not extensively discuss the matter after the closed session, which lasted 90 minutes and involved discussion of other topics. The council went into closed session about 7 p.m.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246