City Council approves exclusive negotiations with Brett Kreuger for Empire Hotel redevelopment
Published 12:05 am Wednesday, January 19, 2022
By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding to begin exclusive negotiations with Charlotte-based developer Brett Krueger on his “luxury boutique” concept for the Empire Hotel.
The memo includes the city, Krueger’s development group and Downtown Salisbury Inc., which owns the property where the hotel is located, 212 S. Main St. City Attorney Graham Corriher said the memo outlines that Krueger will have six months to bring forward “a fully fleshed-out” proposal with all financial sourcing in place. The city will then be able to negotiate on the final purchase price.
The hotel’s location is in an opportunity zone and it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Salisbury Historic District. It is listed as a local historic landmark and is eligible for historic tax credits.
The city announced Krueger’s selection in September. The memo approved Tuesday is a formal action that binds the city to negotiate terms of the redevelopment exclusively with Krueger’s team. Corriher also clarified Tuesday’s action isn’t the final development agreement.
Krueger and his affiliate, Howard Kosofsky, have proposed constructing around 40 apartments in the hotel, ranging from one to three bedrooms. The plan would also include a full-service spa, gym and health club in addition to 7,000 square feet of retail space and 6,000 square feet for a restaurant and historic hotel bar. Krueger previously told the Post he intends to include retail space that supports and directly benefits artists and artistic growth in addition to the restoration of more than 20 hotel rooms in the hotel as well as the ballroom for event space.
Krueger has more than 25 years of experience in construction and residential and commercial development. He served as the vice president of operations for MRK Investments, where he conceptualized and led the development of the nationally recognized hotels Windsor Boutique Hotel in Asheville and The Ivey’s Hotel in Charlotte.
Before selecting Krueger’s group, the task force spent months deliberating on another proposal that came from Josh Barnhardt of Iron Horse Development, who proposed joining forces with Bill Greene of G2 Development, LLC and Justin Mueller of Sherwood Development Group to tackle different sections of the hotel in hopes of expediting its completion. Though both design proposals were similar and included a blend of residential and retail space, Barnhardt’s proposal included “row homes,” which look like walk-up townhomes seen in other historic locations.
The selection was made a year after the city ended exclusive negotiations with Black Point Investments for the Empire Hotel project, which had been ongoing since 2016, after the firm did not agree to a $700,000 purchase price from the city.
In other business at Tuesday’s City Council meeting:
• Council members approved a slew of revisions made to the city’s code of ordinances decriminalizing certain violations in compliance with a new state law.
• Council members approved starting the upset bid process for the sale of parcels 005-143 and 055-144 located on the 1200 block of West Fisher Street. Wesley and Shakya Jackson have submitted an offer of $1,500 to purchase the properties, with the former parcel measuring .34 acres at an assessed tax value of $18,382, and the latter parcel measuring .26 acres and assessed at $15,680. The Jacksons have submitted the 5% deposit required and will undergo the 10-day upset bid process period.
• Council approved a contract with Withers Ravenel in the amount of $30,905 for a Jump and Run Branch Watershed analysis and engineering services. Funds for the project were included in the 2021-22 budget.
• Council formally began a process that will span three meetings regarding a voluntary annexation for Cloninger Investments Inc. located at 645 Julian Road. The request is to annex 3.23 acres. A public hearing will be held in February before voting.
• Council approved a request to demolish dilapidated structures at 418 and 420 S. Craige St.
• Council reappointed Breck Dorton to the Rowan Economic Development Council. This marks his second term, which will expire Dec. 31, 2023.
• Council approved a request from Spectrum for a right-of-way encroachment for the installation of underground bore in the 100 block of South Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, which is also subject to approval by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.