|City approves zoning, incentives for new Cobblestone hotel|
|Written by Chris Lee|
Holyoke City Council moved forward with rezoning and incentives for Cobblestone Inn and Suites (Holyoke Hotel, LLC) during a special meeting held Monday, Oct. 29.
Prior to the special meeting, the planning commission met to recommend the city rezone Block 1 of the JRE Subdivision of a part of the Robin Lake Addition to the City of Holyoke from A-O to C-1.
They also recommended the council grant the exemption from subdivision requirements for Block 1 of the JRE Subdivision. The council accepted both recommendations.
The land involved runs from East Johnson Street south along Highway 385 on the east side of the highway.
Steve Young, representing an investment group, was at last week’s special meeting to answer any questions the council had.
The group is working with Cobblestone Inn and Suites to build a hotel on a lot at the corner of Highway 385 and East Johnson Street straight south of Holyoke City Park.
Two lots will be purchased. The lot directly to the south will be used for possible expansion or additional businesses in the future.
Young said the group will own the land and building when all is said and done. They will be using the Cobblestone name under a name branding system.
Cobblestone Inn and Suites focuses on helping local investors bring hotels to smaller and rural communities.
An official groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday, Nov. 6 for a new Cobblestone Inn and Suites hotel at the intersection of Highway 385 and East Johnson Street in Holyoke. A local group of investors is working with Cobblestone to bring the new hotel to Holyoke. A large group gathered Tuesday afternoon to witness the groundbreaking ceremony. Pictured from left are Tom Bennett, Phillips County Economic Development/First Pioneer National Bank; Tim Shefchik, Cobblestone Hotel Group; Mark Brown, Holyoke City superintendent; Kim Young, investor; Steve Young, investor; Gayln Einspahr, investor; Joe Kinnie, Phillips County commissioner; and Orville Tonsing, Holyoke mayor. —Enterprise photo
When it came time to discuss incentives for the project during the special council meeting last week, the council had some questions.
David Churchwell wanted to know what has been done in the past with incentives for new businesses.
City clerk/treasurer Kathy Olofson said the grocery store (Holyoke Marketplace) was the last time something similar has been done.
Olofson said a one-time construction permit fee was waived up to $2,500. A real property tax refund of 100 percent was given the first year and decreased 20 percent every year for five years. A personal property tax refund of 50 percent was given the first year and decreased 10 percent every year for five years. The labor on the tap fees was also waived.
Churchwell asked about existing businesses and what would happen if they expand. Olofson said a certain set of criteria needs to be met.
One of the criteria is that jobs need to be created, according to Young.
“Really the reason I started all of this is I saw a terrific need in this town for a hotel. For this town to grow, it needs another hotel,” Young said.
“It needs some place for people to come in to stay and do those kinds of things. Truly the reason I started all of this is because I think this town needs it if it’s going to grow and continue to be the prosperous place that people want to move to. My hope is to see more businesses come in there so we can continue to see Holyoke grow.”
Council members approved the following incentives for Cobblestone Inn and Suites (Holyoke Hotel, LLC):
—real property tax refund of 100 percent the first year and decreasing 20 percent for five years.
—personal property tax refund of 50 percent the first year and decreasing 10 percent for five years.
—waive the building permit fee up to $2,500.
—waived the labor only on the tap fees.
Young thanked the council and said he hopes the hotel turns out like he expects it to.
The city council held a short budget work session following last week’s special meeting.
Holyoke Enterprise November 8, 2012