Bermuda Run waiting on hotel proposals

Published 10:20 am Thursday, February 21, 2019

BERMUDA RUN – Although the town didn’t receive any official submittals in the first phase of engaging a potential development partner for a boutique or upscale hotel, the town hasn’t given up on finding a match.

Town Manager Lee Rollins said that Development Finance Initiative, which partnered with Bermuda Run on the project early last year, will now move to the next step of its process.

“DFI is now doing what they call their second phase of their scope of work in putting together a retail/office and residential analysis for us,” Rollins said.

The town entered into an agreement earlier last year with DFI, which works with local governments to attract private investment for projects by providing 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 done 75 such projects, to make a public presentation, the council approved a resolution in September to allow DFI to put together a request for proposal to determine the feasibility of the proposed hotel.

The RFPs went out the first week of October, and it was reported a person came for a site visit the next week. However, as the calendar has turned to 2019, there have still been no official submittals.

“We’ve had some other folks that have expressed interest, but we just haven’t had any official submittals yet,” Rollins said. “There have been conversations but not what I call an official engagement.”

In its presentation to the public last fall, DFI officials said that that the objectives for the project 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 both tourists and residents, and minimizing public investment and maximizing private investment.

Rollins said then that looking into these kinds of opportunities makes sense in these days for small towns such as Bermuda Run 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 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 another real estate item, Rollins said that the town received an preliminary submittal for an 80-unit senior living (55 and older) apartment community on NC 801 behind Bermuda Commons.

He said that the land is not in the town’s corporate limits, but Bermuda Run does administer the zoning and that the town received a partial site plan, which will be reviewed by the technical review committee. Bermuda Run contracts with the county for planning and zoning administration.

• In last Tuesday’s meeting, the town council approved a three-year contract to remain with Blakley Landscape Services in the town’s landscape maintenance agreement with an annual cost of $74,136.

• In council comments, several council members talked about the excellent meeting the previous Thursday morning for the mayor’s breakfast at the WinMock Granary where feedback was received from community businesses.

• Councilman John Guglielmi commented on the rock gardens leading into the roundabout on US 158 and how rocks continually keep getting pushed into the road by large trucks along with the costs in the maintenance involved.

Rollins said that he had talked with Mayor Ken Rethmeier about getting in touch with NCDOT and then come back before the council and recommend that the rock gardens be capped with cement.