History Preservation Partners Holding, LLC Agreed to Buy the Empire Hotel. Hopes to Begin Building Apartments and Retail in 2018

Posted on August 12, 2016



RFP Staff

♦ At DSI, Inc.’s and the City of Salisbury’s joint press conference Friday at the Gateway Building on East Innes, it was announced that “History Preservation Partners Holding, LLC” (HPPH), the developer of the Loray Mill in Gastonia, N.C., has agreed to buy the Empire Hotel, the Queen of the South Main Badlands. HPPH would likely develop the property into market value apartments and retail.  The bottom floor is to be used for retail and the upper floors for 50 to 70 units.

William “Billy” Hughes speaking for HPPH:

The agreed upon price was $880,000. HPPH is set to close on the Empire in August of 2017 and is slated to break ground in 2018. The Empire is said to be a $20 million dollar project and will take about 14 months to complete.

While the South Main Badlands will remain in its blighted condition for at least two more years, on the plus side DSI, Inc. hopefully will be taken off the hook in 2017 for paying for the decaying eyesore and Downtown’s businesses will be freed from the largest Municipal Services District tax of any municipality in North Carolina.

The Empire Hotel faces several hurdles before the HPPH can close on the property. They require positive outcomes on a market feasibility study, a financial feasibility analysis, a planning review with community input, plus a clean environmental study. These are significant hurdles.  HPPH will also examine local demographics and the areas potential for growth.  And lastly and the very least of its hurdles is that the Empire  has to be cleared by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Parks Service.

The city of Salisbury will “possibly” enter into some kind of murky preliminary development agreement.  According to a DSI Inc. release the agreement allegedly will outline issues needed to be resolved prior to a final decision.  The agreement doesn’t commit the city government to assist in the project, but outlines issues needing to be addressed prior to any decision by City Council.

We wonder if HPPH will void its agreement to purchase if it gets a dirty phase II on the property and can’t obtain financing. We also wonder about the wisdom of adding more apartments to an area overrun with vacant apartments. People with income are moving away from Salisbury not toward it.

Here is an earlier article containing a PDF. of the dirty phase I for the Empire Hotel property.:

https://rowanfreepress.com/2014/09/01/is-the-decaying-empire-hotel-in-salisbury-n-c-too-top-heavy-with-costs-to-unload-recently-obtained-foias-raise-questions/

**This article will be updated as more information arrives.

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