By Debbie Adams
The Vinton Town Council meeting on October 19 was a “big night of big projects,” according to town staff and council members.
Council adopted a resolution authorizing Town Manager Pete Peters to execute a Performance Agreement between the Town of Vinton, the Roanoke County Economic Development Authority (EDA), and The McDevitt Company for the purpose of developing a limited-service hotel at the intersection of South Pollard, 1st Street, and Cedar Avenue at one of downtown Vinton’s gateways. This project is known as the Vinton/East County Hotel Project.
The town has partnered with the EDA to negotiate terms of the Performance Agreement with The McDevitt Company over a 10-year period which is meant to incentivize the development of a 90- to 100-room hotel. The project involves an investment of $16 million. On July 20, 2021, Town Council authorized a Contract of Sale with The McDevitt Company to acquire six parcels of property at the intersection to build the hotel.
Financial terms of the agreement include—commencing on the opening date of the hotel—reimbursement of all permitting, utility system improvement, and utility connection fees paid to the town by the company and/or its tenants not to exceed $140,000 and reimbursement of all building permits paid to the county not to exceed $30,000.
The agreement also includes payment of an amount equal to 60 percent of the Transient Occupancy Tax Revenue collected by the town from the property for 10 years; 25 percent of the Meals Tax Revenue for a five-year period; payment of an amount equal to the Real Estate Tax Revenue collected by the town not to exceed $35,000 in years one to five; and payment of the annual Net New Tax Revenue collected by Roanoke County not to exceed $150,000 in years one through three. These payments all begin one year after the opening of the hotel.
Terms of the Performance Agreement required on the part of The McDevitt Company include a minimum capital investment of $16 million; a minimum site improvement capital investment of $900,000; creation of and maintaining at least 20 new jobs for 10 years; generating and paying at least $150,000 annually in Transient Occupancy Tax Revenue; and generating and paying at least $25,000 annually in Meals Tax Revenue.
With the signing of the Performance Agreement, Peters expects the project to break ground early in the new year. He said that while “the incentive is large, the payback will be large as well” for the town, as the hotel will support other businesses in the town and help retain guests attending local attractions and events within the town.
Council also approved a resolution awarding a bid and authorizing the town manager to execute a contract with Frizzell Construction Company in an amount not to exceed $1.78 million for the construction of the Third Street Pump Station. This project is of vital importance as the facility handles all of the wastewater in the town.
Assistant Town Manager Cody Sexton made the presentation on the Third Street Pump Station project. In Spring 2020, the town issued debt to fund several high impact utility projects which had been deferred over the years, including replacement and upgrade of the Third Street Pump Station which has been in operation since the 1980s. The anticipated budget was $2 million. The town contracted with the Hurt & Proffitt engineering and surveying firm in summer 2021 to coordinate the bid process and assist with overseeing the construction of the pump station.
An Invitation for Sealed Bids was advertised in The Roanoke Times on September 12; a pre-bid meeting was held on September 29 with a public opening of bids on October 14.
Sexton said that somewhat surprisingly the town received four bids for the project: $1.78 million from Frizzell Construction Company; $2 million from WACO, Inc.; $2.3 million from Concrete Foundations; and $3.1 million from MEB General Contractors. Staff recommended accepting the low bid from Frizzell, especially since the town has worked with Frizzell on several projects and “found their work to be satisfactory.” Sexton said the company received “glowing references and has a good track record,” and believes they will bring the project in “on time and under the initial budgeted $2 million.”
“The contractor will build the new pumps while the old pumps are still operating,” said Sexton. “We can then take the old pumps offline once the new pumps are installed. The project is anticipated to start in early November and should be completed sometime next summer.”
Sexton thanked Public Works Director Bo Herndon, Utilities Service Manager Kenny Sledd, Public Works Administrative Assistant Jill Acker, and former Vinton Financial Services Analyst Brandon Gann for their hard work on the project to date.
In addition to the hotel and pump station projects, the good news continued with a presentation from Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Nathan McClung on progress with the Gish Mill Redevelopment Project.
He briefed council on the Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund (ESHPF) Sub-Award Agreement and the Historic Preservation Agreement Deed for the Gish Mill project from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR). Council will take action on the agreements at the next meeting.
The historic mill is slated for mixed-use development by Gish Davii, LLC, to include lodging/hospitality, a seasonal market, and a restaurant.
According to McClung, the agreements are in conjunction with the stabilization and repair work to be undertaken at the Gish Mill site as part of the large revitalization of the historic structure. The three-story brick central portion of Gish Mill was constructed around 1846 with several additions constructed between 1930 and 1955.
The grant amount of $250,000 covers:
- Structural design and engineering plans and reviews necessary for flood recovery and rehabilitative work
- Historic documentation and application for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (completed)
- A hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) study proving no-rise will occur in the flood heights (completed)
- Repair and stabilization construction work
The project is expected to comply with DHR and United States Department of the Interior standards.
The scope of the work will include $207,500 for stabilization and repair; $30,000 for the structural design for flood recovery and rehabilitation; $7500 for the H&H study; and $5,000 for finalizing the National Register of Historic Places.
The funds will support stabilization and repair of Gish Mill which was damaged by Hurricanes Florence and Michael due to high water from the adjacent Glade Creek.
The scope of work for the Stabilization and Demolition Plan is to provide a two-phase approach:
- Phase 1– Conduct an investigative demolition and stabilization (permanent and temporary) as needed of the existing structure to assess conditions and determine the existing building components that need to be repaired or replaced in kind.
- Phase 2– During and after the investigative demolition and stabilization phase, provide detailed scope of work for building components once condition has been assessed and appropriate treatment determined.
Specific actions will include providing openings in the concrete walls in some sections to gain access to the conditions of the interior; carefully removing vegetation interior and exterior in a manner that will not damage the historic fabric; providing underpinning in some areas for temporary stabilization; reinstalling loose brick; cleaning and repointing historic masonry and mortar; providing temporary scaffolding to stabilize the floors and stairs; removing and storing historic flooring for reinstallation; removing roof and walls of the non-historic addition, retaining the concrete slab, landing and ramp; and providing subgrade bank stabilization.
Mayor Brad Grose and Peters commended McClung and town staff for their diligent efforts on what is described as a “complicated project.”
Peters updated council on other economic development news, including an anticipated opening of the expanded Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in early December. The Roasters Next Door (RND) Coffee Shop at Vinyard Station is awaiting delivery of furniture and equipment with plans to open mid-November.
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