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Empire Hotel open houses on Monday and Thursday

Downtown Salisbury, Inc. and the City of Salisbury will host two Empire Hotel open houses on Monday, July 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Aug. 2, from 8 to 10 a.m.

The open house will begin at City Hall Council Chambers, 217 S. Main St., and allow residents to learn more about the Empire Hotel redevelopment project. Tours of the property will be conducted.

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. It finally closed its doors in 1963 following years of substantial renovations and management turnover.

Downtown Salisbury, Inc. purchased the property in 2007 from the Ragsdale family of Jamestown, N.C., intending to stabilize and develop the property.

In 2010, Downtown Salisbury, Inc., through a series of public meetings, discussions, and with much public input, published a downtown master plan. The hotel’s redevelopment will achieve a number of strategies outlined in the plan, one being the expansion of the downtown as a diverse, livable, urban residential district.

Most recently, Black Point Investments, LLC, signed a purchase and sale agreement with plans to develop the property into market-rate apartments.

The mixed-use development will also include retail storefronts along South Main St., including the commercial space in the former Montgomery Ward main floor, mezzanine and basement, all totaling 29,000 square feet.

The Empire Hotel project is still contingent upon several factors such as a securing suitable financing, continued planning review and community input.

Citizens are welcome to share their thoughts and concerns during Monday’s and Thursday’s tours.

The two tour dates will additionally provide residents information on a master lease proposal being considered by public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

The proposal would obligate the city to cover the lease of commercial space in the main floor and mezzanine should a tenant be unable to cover its full cost or default on payments.

All told, the city could pay $12 per square-foot per year for 13,319 square-feet of commercial space equaling $159,828 annually for 10 years.

For more information about the Empire Hotel Open House, contact Larissa Harper at 704-638-5239 or via email at larissa.harper@salisburync.gov.

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