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August 5, 2021

Empire Hotel open house scheduled for Oct. 16

Staff report

SALISBURY — Downtown Salisbury Inc. and the city will host an open house to update the public on the Empire Hotel property on Oct. 16.

The open house will allow residents to hear more information about the Empire Hotel Redevelopment project and share their thoughts and concerns.

Tours of the property will be provided; light refreshments will be served.

One year ago, Black Point Investments LLC signed a purchase agreement with plans to develop the property into market-rate apartments.

Initial plans also provide for the development of retail storefronts along South Main Street, including the retail space in the former Montgomery Ward main floor, mezzanine and basement. Combined, the project would allow for about 29,000 square feet of retail space.

It was anticipated that the property sale would close in August. However, because of the project financing structure recommended, the closing date has been rescheduled for early to mid-2018. Construction is scheduled to begin after that.

The Empire Hotel project is contingent on the successful completion of several steps, including a market feasibility study, financial feasibility analysis, planning review and community input. The open house is considered one of many opportunities that will be provided for community input.

In 2010, Downtown Salisbury, through a series of public meetings, discussions and public input opportunities, published the Downtown Master Plan. The redevelopment of the Empire Hotel would help achieve a number of strategies outlined in the plan, including expanding downtown’s role as a diverse, livable, urban residential district.

The Empire Hotel was built in 1855 by local attorney Nathaniel Boyden. It opened to the public three years later as a “first-class hotel,” on the heels of the railroad’s arrival in Salisbury. Then known as Boyden House, the property also housed permanent residents throughout its 100-year operating history.

After years of substantial renovations and management turnover, the hotel closed in 1963.

DSI purchased the hotel in 2007 from the Ragsdale family of Jamestown with the intention of stabilizing and developing the property.

The Oct. 16 open house will be from 5 to 8 p.m.

Refreshments will be served at City Hall, 217 S. Main St., from 5 to 6 p.m.

Guided tours of the Empire Hotel will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m. Tours will begin at City Hall and will only be available to people 16 and older.

A public feedback period will then be held in the City Council chambers from 7 to 8 p.m.

The open house is free.

For more information about the Empire Hotel open house, contact Janet Gapen at 704-638-5230 or at jgape@salisburync.gov.

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