Apr
28

Greenville Approves Land Sale To Peacock Hotel Developers

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City OKs land sale to Peacock Hotel developers

April 28, 2008

By Ben Szobody – Greenville News

City Council unanimously gave initial approval tonight to the sale of 242 square feet of downtown public right of way at McBee Avenue and Spring Street to The Peacock Hotel and Spa LLC, developers of the $65 million luxury corner project that’s currently on hold.

Gilbert Patrick, president and general manager of the future hotel, told council members that developers are still hunting bank financing. They “found some interest” in the last week, he said, but it could be next year before agreements are complete. ¶

Construction on the hotel, condo and restaurant project was halted in January, leaving concrete pillars, vertical rebar and a fixed crane on the site, as the national credit crisis cost developers Grant Peacock and Mark Kent anticipated financing. ¶

City Manager Jim Bourey said the proposed sale of public land for $14,704 indicates that developers are still interested in going forward, though not immediately.

The project will include sidewalk dining, Bourey said, which usually involves an easement that allows restaurants to put tables on public sidewalks. In this case, he said developers are concerned about corner street traffic and want to build a wall for diners’ protection.

With that scope of work, Bourey said he believes the developers should own the property, leaving some right of way for public pedestrian use.

Mayor Knox White asked to see more detailed drawings to make sure there would be plenty of corner pedestrian space.

The city has also earmarked $475,000 for streetscape improvements in connection with the Peacock development in a recently approved capital budget, including a street reconfiguration for a hotel drop-off area.

Tonight’s ordinance says the developer agrees to construct a project of at least $50 million, construct the streetscape improvements and keep the city posted about the construction crane in the event that it remains on the site longer than 14 months. If the developer doesn’t complete the project within three years, the city can repurchase the slice of right of way for the same price, the agreement says.

The city-funded streetscape improvements include lights, new sidewalks, a planter island and street furniture.

The council’s approval vote was unanimous.

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