Here are just 5 of many reasons I’m firmly convinced the City and County of Durham are making very wise investments by incentivizing the conversion of the historic Central Carolina Bank building into a hotel.
- While projects like American Tobacco, West Village and Golden Belt are proving incentive worthy, the true heavy lifting to fully revitalize and invigorate Downtown Durham is in the city center where the Greenfire Development projects are and multiple stand-alone projects are far more difficult than complexes.
- The incentives for the Greenfire hotel proposed for Durham are conservatively on the backend, unlike many across the country including Raleigh where local governments took up-front equity positions. And Greenfire is locally owned so more of the resulting yield from this incentive will actually remain here in Durham.
- As experts note, hotels don’t actually generate visitors but they play a role in harvesting visitor demand and spending generated by the community and community marketing. Durham’s strong growth in visitation since destination marketing commenced has generated more commercial lodging guest rooms overall than its peers across the state and nation. But in Durham only a fraction as many have located in the downtown area.
- Hotels need to cluster to be successful, just like bank branches, convenience stores and restaurants. The Greenfire hotel project will synergize more success for other projects like the Durham Convention Center and atop it, the Durham (Downtown) Marriott as well as many other public assets including theaters and ballparks which also greatly rely on visitors.
- The Greenfire hotel project will generate even more foot traffic, spending and tax revenue than incentive worthy office space. Overnight visitors spend 10 times more per day than the workside spending of commuters who work in office buildings. And more than half of overnight visitor spending occurs outside the hotel on things like entertainment, shopping, dining etc (overall nearly 80% of Durham visitor spending occurs outside lodging facilities.)
In my opinion the Greenfire hotel project will be a great return on investment for local residential and commercial taxpayers and City and County officials should approve it.