Raleigh ho­tel de­vel­oper buys down­town Fire­stone prop­erty

The News & Observer - - Business - BY ZACH­ERY EANES zeanes@new­sob­server.com Zach­ery Eanes: 919-419-6684,@zeanes

Lo­cal ho­tel de­vel­oper Win­wood Hos­pi­tal­ity Group has bought an­other part of down­town Raleigh.

The com­pany has spent $6 mil­lion to buy the Fire­stone garage prop­erty near Nash Square, where it plans to even­tu­ally build a ho­tel. Though, the tim­ing on when the com­pany plans to build there is un­de­ter­mined, said Amit Pa­tel, Win­wood’s pres­i­dent.

“The long term use (of the prop­erty) is go­ing to be hos­pi­tal­ity,” Pa­tel said, adding that the com­pany hasn’t made any com­mit­ments on what type of ho­tel they would build. “There are six an­nounced ho­tels in down­town Raleigh right now — in­clud­ing one of our own — and our in­tent is to see how they are ab­sorbed and then bring prod­uct to the mar­ket.”

This is the com­pany’s sec­ond pur­chase in down­town in re­cent years. Pre­vi­ously, the com­pany bought prop­erty ad­ja­cent to the Raleigh Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, where it said in 2017, it would build a 12-story Court­yard Mar­riott ho­tel, The News & Ob­server pre­vi­ously re­ported.

Win­wood hopes to be­gin con­struc­tion on that site, which would add nearly 200 rooms to down­town, some­time near the end of 2019, Pa­tel said.

Pa­tel added that his com­pany has the pa­tience and re­sources to wait and watch the mar­ket be­fore em­bark­ing on the Fire­stone Prop­erty. Win­wood bought the prop­erty at 333 S. Daw­son St. from Bridge­stone Amer­i­cas. The pur­chase was first re­ported by the Tri­an­gle Busi­ness Jour­nal.

The Fire­stone build­ing and its vin­tage sign is a fa­mil­iar land­mark to many in down­town Raleigh, dat­ing back to the 1960s. The area where it’s lo­cated, near Nash Square, has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar with de­vel­op­ers in re­cent time, due to its walk­a­bil­ity to the down­town core as well as Union Sta­tion and the Ware­house Dis­trict. An­other ho­tel de­vel­oper, re­cently an­nounced plans to build a nine-story ho­tel at south­west cor­ner of West Mar­tin and South Daw­son streets, and the for­mer News & Ob­server build­ing on Nash Square fetched $22mil­lion.

The city of Raleigh also wants to trans­form its cur­rent City Hall cam­pus on Nash Square into a 20-story tower as well.

Un­der the terms of the sale, Fire­stone will sign a short-term lease, but will even­tu­ally move out, Pa­tel said. He wouldn’t say when Fire­stone would be mov­ing out, but added that after it does, the com­pany will look to sign an­other ten­ant, while it stud­ies the mar­ket.

In the past year, tourism and down­town ad­vo­cacy groups have in­creased their calls for more ho­tels to be built in down­town. Greater Raleigh Con­ven­tion and Vis­i­tors Bureau said re­cently it wants the city to study how it can at­tract de­vel­op­ers to build more rooms near the con­ven­tion cen­ter. The Down­town Raleigh Al­liance has agreed with the vis­i­tors bureau on the is­sue.

“We are glad to see new ho­tel pro­jects mov­ing for­ward, which can help sat­isfy grow­ing busi­ness, con­ven­tion and tourism travel to down­town and bring new types of ho­tels into the­mar­ket,” said Bill King, who runs eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and plan­ning for the Down­town Raleigh Al­liance. “Ul­ti­mately, to el­e­vate the con­ven­tion cen­ter into com­pet­ing for even larger events and to sat­isfy busi­ness travel for our grow­ing em­ploy­ment base, we would like to also see a large head­quar­ters ho­tel of 400-plus rooms come into down­town.”

But cur­rently, Pa­tel is not sure if down­town Raleigh can sup­port the num­ber of rooms that have been an­nounced.

“Down­town Raleigh has tremen­dous mo­men­tum right now,” Pa­tel said. “But we chase num­bers and cur­rently there is tremen­dous week­end de­mand, but cor­po­rate (de­mand) is still in the sub­urbs and (Re­search Tri­an­gle Park).

“We do see that chang­ing long term with com­pa­nies like Citrix and Red Hat grow­ing, and hope­fully some other com­pa­nies will be an­nounced in the fu­ture. But cur­rently the num­bers don’t sup­port the in­flux of rooms at the mo­ment.”

Win­wood Hos­pi­tal­ity Group

Win­wood Hos­pi­tal­ity Group has been ac­tive in down­town Raleigh. The com­pany wants to build a 12-story Court­yard by Mar­riott ho­tel on the site of En­ter­prise Rent-A-Car north of the down­town Raleigh Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. It also just pur­chased the Fire­stone prop­erty near Nash Square, with plans to build an­other ho­tel in down­town.

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