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Council approves hotel and parking garage project
When the Wayside Inn opened in 1929 on the corner of Main St. and Poinsett St., it became an anchor for Greer's busy downtown. Decades later, city officials are hoping to restore that magic with a new cornerstone hotel in Greer Station.

The City of Greer and Sycamore Greer, LLC, intend to cooperate to redevelop multiple parcels of approximately 2.6 acres in downtown Greer to create a privately-owned 100-room minimum Hilton branded hotel, privately-owned commercial and retail facilities, a publicly-owned pedestrian walkway and a publicly-owned parking facility.

"We truly are on the cusp of a new era for the City of Greer," Mayor Rick Danner said. "The changes you’re going to see in the next decade in our downtown as a result of decisions made over the last 24 months and in the days ahead will leave a positive mark on the City of Greer that our children and grandchildren are going to enjoy and savor until the point that someone comes along and thinks better of our ideas

Greer City Council passed second reading of Ordinance 38-2017 approving the project formerly known as Project Kaboom at its Oct. 10, 2017 meeting.

"Someone was asking how long we’ve really been working on this site. We first entertained development of this property back in 2013, so this has been a very long process for us," Greer City Administrator Ed Driggers said.

The proposed development would be located on the northwestern portion of land bounded by East Poinsett Street to the southwest, North Main Street to the northwest, Jason Street to the northeast and Cannon Street to the southeast, and consists mostly of abandoned buildings.

The City of Greer will acquire property on Jason St. to develop a 300-space (approximate) parking garage, with 90 spaces leased to the hotel for $30,000 annually. Sycamore Greer, LLC, intends to donate a portion of its acquired property to ensure the city is able to complete its construction obligations.

The city will also construct and furnish a pedestrian alley for use on or before the hotel occupancy date.

The City of Greer will reimburse Sycamore Greer, LLC, $1.8 million for infrastructure in six payments contingent on:

•  Conveyance of property donated by Sycamore Greer, LLC, to the City of  Greer ($325,000).

•  Completion of the demolition of the buildings currently located on the project property: the city-acquired property, the developer-donated property, the hotel property and the retail property ($325,000).

•  Completion of the footers for the hotel facilities ($325,000).

•  Issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the Hotel Facilities ($325,000).

•  Issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the first building constructed on one of the outparcels in the retail property ($250,000).

•  Issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the last building constructed on the outparcel in the retail property ($250,000).

"We see benefits to the community long-term," Driggers said. "We will be placing that entire property at a much improved assessed value on our tax rolls. We will be receiving business license revenue as well as accommodations and hospitality revenue. We will have development of retail space and the tax base that it will provide. And we believe it will be a very strong base for us in our downtown area."

Driggers added that the project will require issuing public bonds of no less than $10 million to be repaid over a 25-30 year period with the current revenue structure. An ordinance for the bond approval will be brought to Council at its October 24 meeting.

"You gave one predominant message as we worked through this process: that the bonds required for this project would not require a tax increase to the citizens of our community or to our businesses," Driggers told Council members. "This project will not. We will be able to absorb the requirement for the bond indebtedness through the normal operating budgets of our city."