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Developers show interest in BR hotel

BERMUDA RUN – It didn’t take long for the town to engage a potential development partner for a boutique or upscale hotel.

Town Manager Lee Rollins reported in last Tuesday’s Bermuda Run Town Council meeting that requests for proposal (RFPs) went out the first week of October and that a person was coming for a site visit last Thursday.

“So we already have someone coming to make a site visit based off that RFP,” Rollins said.

The town entered into an agreement earlier this year with Development Finance Initiative, which partners with local governments to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development options, to explore the possibilities of the hotel project on a three-acre tract adjacent to the WinMock barn.   

After calling a special meeting in late August to allow DFI, which is a subsidiary of the UNC School of Government and has already done 75 such projects, to make a public presentation, the council approved a resolution in its September meeting to allow DFI to put together a request for proposal to determine the feasibility of the proposed hotel.

Rollins said that roughly 40 potential investors have been identified from Boston to Miami for the project.

“I thought that was a very healthy distribution,” he said. “It is very positive that within a week somebody is coming to check it out.”

Rollins said that looking into these kinds of opportunities makes sense in these days where the numbers sometimes don’t add up to keep up with the needs of local communities.

“In any community there’s going to be different voices and different opinions as it relates to growth,” he said. “But when you look at the numbers and you see the tax base in Davie County and Forsyth County – flat to declining – there has to be leadership related to how we do we raise the level of capital investment in communities to be able to continue to pave streets and do other very important public purpose projects.

“So for a small community like Bermuda Run, the potential for an $18 to $20 million project is incredibly important and I think certainly worth the minimal investment that has been made so far to get to this point.”

In the presentation to the public, Sarah Odio, who is the project manager, said that the objectives included recruiting a hotel to accommodate visitors to the WinMock Event Center, the BB&T Sports Park and other area tourist destinations, anchoring the development of a town center that will serve tourists and residents, and minimizing public investment and maximizing private investment.

In other business, the council:

• Heard proclamations for United Way of Davie County Month in October and Family Promise of Davie County Week (Oct. 21-27).

• Heard from Mayor Ken Rethmeier, who praised the work done by Sidinee Suggs and the Davie Arts Council with this year’s “Sounds on the Square” free concert series, which concluded in September with an appearance by the Special Occasion Band. Plans are in the works to put together next year’s schedule.

• Heard from Rollins, who wanted to remind residents of Davie County that early voting will start in Bermuda Run’s Town Hall on Oct. 17 and be held each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Heard from councilman Rick Cross, who wanted to make everyone aware that he is part of an effort between the Davie County Senior Services and Aging Planning Committee that is working together and gathering information on a master aging plan for the county. He said that a plan will come out early next year that will address the needs.

• Heard from Sandra Catlett, a resident of the Spyglass Hills development, in the public comments portion of the meeting, who said she was there to represent 37 homeowners who signed a petition in opposition to an entrance closure proposed by the HOA President and presented to the council.