There is some misinformation, confusion, and uncertainty surrounding the “Good Shepherd Hotel”. This is a project being proposed for the site of the old BB&T bank downtown (the one with the columns).
The developer first approached the City about this project in November of last year. We told them at that time that there would be no sewer capacity until the Cochran Road plant expansion was completed sometime in 2020. They asked about parking. As is the case in most downtowns, there is no specific parking requirement for commercial buildings in the C District, so they are not required to have parking onsite, but, logically, a hotel is going to have to have parking. They suggested at that time that they may be interested in partnering with the City for a new deck (a partnership is how the City built the existing parking deck). At that time, the City was in the middle of the Downtown Corridor Study and we were uncertain of what the long-range plan for downtown would be. We explained all of this to the developer.
After not hearing anything since November, the developer contacted the City about 4-weeks ago saying they were ready to proceed with the project (it will take them until 2020 to finish) and wanted to know if we were interested in partnering on parking. Theoretically, the answer is yes. When Council adopted the Downtown Corridor Plan a few months ago it was predicated on first having a location for the on-street parking that will be removed. However, at this point, the City has no land upon which to build a deck, no plan for a deck once we have the land, nor do we have the funding in place to build a deck.
All of this was shared with the developer a few weeks ago. They have decided to move forward with their design and plan approvals as the City continues its efforts to locate and acquire land (and to design and fund a suitable structure for parking and other civic needs). This is their right and risk. The City has not obligated itself to anything other than making sure the project goes through all the appropriate approval processes.
Originally the developer wanted a variance for some added height to put an event space on top of the hotel. Staff told them that it was highly unlikely that they would receive such a variance and they retracted their request from the BZA. They are planning to present to the Board of Architectural Review at the August 7th meeting. Should they choose to do that, their plans will be available for public review two-weeks prior to the meeting.