The directors unanimously approved the application by Cobblestone Hotel Development during the board’s monthly meeting Tuesday morning.
The board approved the application from Cobblestone Hotel Development for a maximum period of 20 years in the amount of $1,042,352.82. The EHDA Board is the final approval authority for the tax increment incentive, so the agreement became effective upon the approval of the board on Tuesday.
Board member Larry Gobble said he conducted some Internet research on Cobblestone and found the chain seeks to meet the standards of Hampton Inns. He thought the hotel was a good fit for Carter County. The company’s website proclaims “Big city quality. Small town values.”
Many people working in economic development in Carter County have listed a more upscale hotel as one of the top needs for commercial or industrial recruitment.
Elizabethton Planning Director Jon Hartman said he did not expect the plans for the hotel to be available for the next meeting of the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission. That meeting takes place on Oct. 4. But Hartman did think the plans could be ready for the Planning Commission’s November meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 1.
While the plans have yet to be submitted to the Planning Commission, Hartman said the developers have indicated the hotel would consist of about 54 rooms in a three-story building on a 1.5-acre lot in the former industrial property owned by the North American Rayon and Bemberg rayon plants on the west side of town.
Hartman said the former industrial site does have risks in development. For instance, two years ago a developer struck an underground storage vault while grading the ground for a new development. The vault contained a volatile chemical that caught fire, curtailing development of that property.