GREENSBORO — Almost since its inception, city leaders have said that a downtown performing arts center could spawn opportunities for other types of business.
On Friday, that moved one step closer to reality when developer Roy Carroll said he’s planning to build a new hotel across from NewBridge Bank Park, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
Chief among Carroll’s reasons for wanting to pursue the project: the progress being made on the arts center.
“We feel like downtown Greensboro is, of course, heading in the right direction and we plan to see this through,” Carroll said late Friday.
Carroll’s acknowledgment of the project is yet another sign that after more than a year and a half of intense planning, the performing arts center may finally happen.
Roughly $12.5 million in major private donations have been announced, including a $5 million gift last week.
On Wednesday, City Council said they will vote on whether to buy land for the arts center at their meeting Aug. 20.
Next week, City Manager Denise Turner Roth plans to meet with the local tourism board and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. Both must sign off on the city’s plan to spend hotel-motel tax money on the project.
That has led Carroll to look at building a hotel.
He said construction could begin spring 2014.
“It looks like there is a market downtown for a new hotel and we’re pursuing that,” Carroll said. “People are going to be coming into town and I think definitely the downtown hotels will benefit.”
The performing arts center’s proposed site is the downtown block bound by Lindsay and Elm streets and Summit Avenue.
If it gets built there, Carroll’s proposed hotel — located in the 400 block of Eugene Street — would be in a prime position, sitting across the street from the ballpark and minutes away from the arts center.
Carroll said his company has done a feasibility study on the property and has preliminary architectural plans to build maybe a seven- or eight-story building.
Only time will tell, though, whether his hotel is the first of many announcements related to the arts center as city leaders have hoped.
“I’m extremely happy for Roy and downtown Greensboro,” local developer Milton Kern said. “I think it’s an excellent idea and I’d like to see a couple more hotels next year downtown, too.”
Mayor Robbie Perkins echoed the same sentiment. He said the performing arts center was conceived as a magnet for development.
“This is one of the things that I anticipated happening when I started promoting the project,” Perkins said.
Carroll said Friday his decision was influenced by one other thing: the city changing its late-night noise ordinance.
Carroll, who owns and lives in Center Pointe condominium tower, has said he wouldn’t develop property downtown until the law was stricter.
Council voted to do just that on July 17.
Carroll filed paperwork with the city to form a limited liability company — Carroll Hotels and Investments, LLC — on July 26.
“I was true to my word. I had no intention of putting a dime in downtown until the noise ordinance was addressed,” Carroll said. “I certainly couldn’t see putting money into a hotel if our downtown was such that we were going to have to refund people’s money because of noise issues every morning.”
Staff writers Richard M. Barron and Amanda Lehmert contributed to this story.