Planners urge approval of eastern Lincoln County’s first hotel

Eastern Lincoln County’s first proposed hotel would benefit the area economically and should be approved, the Lincoln County Planning Board unanimously recommended late Monday.

County commissioners have the final say and are expected to vote Dec. 15 on New York developer Baylor Properties Corp.’s plans to build the 140-room Cottonwood Hotel. The $16 million hotel would be part of the previously approved Cottonwood Village mixed-use community on South Little Egypt Road.

The 31-acre project would border four-lane N.C. 16 Bypass.

“This is a great place for a hotel,” Planning Board Chairwoman Christine Poinsette said.

Baylor Properties also plans to build a $27 million residential project comprising 254 rental units in Cottonwood Village. The company also plans a $9 million, 60,000 square foot commercial-retail project, Baylor Properties General Manager Tom Hall-Tam told the Observer.

Cottonwood Hotel would be up to six stories tall. It would include 5,000 to 8,000 square feet of space for meetings, weddings and other events, Hall-Tam said. If commissioners approve the project, work on the hotel could begin in late 2015.

The vote followed a public hearing before the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners. The owner of the Food Lion plaza next door submitted a letter to the boards expressing concerns about flooding if the project is approved.

Ken Moore, who owns the nearby Midtown Sundries, said poor drainage caused the flooding but that he’s never experienced the problem. “I think a hotel for Denver is a great idea,” Moore told the boards. “It’s well-needed for this area.”

Two storm water detention ponds would handle any flooding, Dan Brewer, an engineer for the developer, told the boards.

Planning Board member Keith Johnson called the project “a great idea” but worried about the added traffic on South Little Egypt Road. Still, he seconded the motion to approve the project.

Lincoln County planning staff recommended the project be approved. The planned development is in an area designated for such uses by the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. It’s near major highways and where commercial development is concentrated, planners said in public filings.

Baylor Properties bought the land for $3 million in 2012 from Shoreline Property Management Inc., Lincoln County property records show.

The boutique hotel doesn’t have a brand yet, although Hall-Tam said the developers are working to reach an agreement with either Hilton or Marriott.

Baylor Properties’ principals are from China and are looking for good properties in which to invest, Hall-Tam said. The company hired a consultant who found that eastern Lincoln County lacked both a hotel and meeting space, he said.

In another sign of growth in the area, Shea Homes, an Arizona-based national home builder, expects to have 1,650 homes in its Trilogy Lake Norman subdivision by 2021. Trilogy encompasses 589 primarily wooded acres on the south side of N.C. 73 west of Little Egypt Road