Dec. 21–Developers of a proposed hotel in the city say Kinston could have a Marriott by the end of 2014.
Washington-based Kinston Hospitality LLC had struck a deal with Kinston City Council in July to invest $11 million for a new hotel. Now they say construction could begin in the next two months.
Vimal Kolappa, managing member of the investment group, said he plans on having construction done in the next two months for a Fairfield Marriott.
“I’m very excited about this,” Kolappa said. “Kinston needs a good hotel and we consider them an expanding market, so this hotel would sit well with the economic development happening in Kinston.”
The hotel will be built on the northwest corner of Sheffield Drive and Berkeley Avenue.
Walter Poole, a broker with Poole Realty who sold the land to Kinston Hospitality said the hotel is sorely needed.
“With the town growing, when we have particular events here, we would welcome people coming into town who booked rooms in other communities,” Poole said. “We have a real need for a hotel, and it’s been quite a while since one has been erected in Kinston. It will impact events coming here, have people look at availability and make decisions accordingly. A vibrant, upscale facility will be a boon to the community.”
The site plan was approved on Sept. 20, but City of Kinston Permit Technician Donna Kennedy said building plans haven’t been submitted yet.
“The plans have to be reviewed, but it will take less than a couple weeks to inspect them,” Kennedy said. “The project will be up to them, considering how fast they want to work.”
Kennedy said she is sure the investment group will send the plans soon.
“We know they’re planning to send us the building plans,” she said. “We just haven’t gotten them yet.”
Kinston mayor B.J. Murphy said the hotel will be great for Kinston without costing the city much. Of the $11.5 million, the city is only responsible for $12,900, as it will pay tap fees for water, fire and sanitary sewer services for three years.
“Not only does the city benefit from property taxes, water services and sewer services, but we also benefit from job creation,” Murphy said. “We’re only contributing less than 1 percent of the cost, and we can provide 25 full-time jobs within a year.”
Murphy said Lenoir County will also be able to benefit from the Marriott.
“The county will receive property tax as well, and there will be a hotel occupancy tax, which will (be used to) market city and county events,” Murphy said.
Adrian King, executive director of Pride of Kinston, said the hotel is beneficial considering the growth of the city.
“As you grow the population, amenities and the level of enjoyment for downtown, you need quality bed space for visitors,” King said. “This is a great statement and constant for the community.”
Laura Lee Sylvester, president of the Kinston/Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce, said the Fairfield Marriott would help those interested in tours of the city, but find hotels in other communities.
“I think it will be very beneficial for Kinston and Lenoir County,” Sylvester said. “The Tourism Development Authority works with groups who want to visit and tour the region, and there are times where we don’t have availability, or competitive rates. This new hotel addresses those issues.”
John McPhaul, owner and operator of the Chick-Fil-A on Vernon Avenue, said it was hard to say specifically if the hotel would help his business, but it could assist with economic development.
“I know there are times of the year where hotel capacity can be a problem, like the barbecue festivals, but this one will help,” McPhaul said. “Peak travel times will help contribute to economic increase.”
Ray Amyette, executive director for Lions Industries for the Blind, said he doesn’t think business will improve because of the new hotel, but believes it will benefit Kinston immensely.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had a hotel here, and having this one will bring economic success throughout the city,” Amyette said.
Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 and Junious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.