Meeting held to give update on Empire Hotel

Published 12:04 am Thursday, March 16, 2023

SALISBURY — While work has been ongoing, the Empire Hotel might be seeing more visible progress soon.

On Monday, the Empire Hotel Redevelopment Task Force met to give an update on where things stand on the renovation project in downtown Salisbury.

The task force discussed whether or not the developers, Brett Kreuger and Josh Barnhardt, have been keeping up with the criteria laid out in the memorandum of understanding “that sets certain timelines for them to complete certain aspects of the project in order for us to get the point where we can transfer the property and finalize terms of sale,” Task Force Chair Whitney Williams said.

Everything appears on track with Williams saying that the task force “has the utmost confidence” in the developers and the proposal that they first presented when applying to develop the Empire Hotel. This includes having apartments, retail space, a grand ballroom, restaurants and even a spa. However, there are still details that need to be ironed out first.

“At this point in the process, the only part of the development plan they really haven’t met is the financial plan, which I understand is not unusual for a project of this size,” Williams said.

The Empire Hotel is being divided into three parts. The smallest section, called Efird’s, will have five rowhomes facing Bank Street. The hope is for the developers to get started on Efird’s before the entire financial plan is finalized. In the next few months, Williams says the task force will work with them to see if their financial plan for just Efird’s is complete so they can get started on construction for that section only.

“We’d love to see some momentum. I know the public is ready for it to get started,” Williams said.