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The City of Lincolnton has received three requests for proposals for redevelopment of the building at 110-116 East Water Street in Lincolnton.

Prior to their regular meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, members of the Lincolnton City Council reviewed the three requests for proposal that they had received for re-use of city-owned property located at 110, 112, 114 and 116 East Water Street. 

At their Sept. 5 meeting, the council discussed and approved asking for requests for proposals for redevelopment of the building on East Water Street. This property was formerly to become a tavern and black box theater to be operated by Pete and April DeGregory. That never came to fruition, however, and now the city wants a high-quality, full service/full menu restaurant to be operated at the location. 

Once a potential candidate is selected, the city will negotiate a contract to include a development agreement, a lease or purchase agreement and a performance bond. The goals that the city has for redevelopment of this building include that it be a full service/full menu restaurant featuring a broad menu, include at least 100 seats, be open at least six days and 40 hours per week. 

Also at the September meeting, the council voted to offer funding in the form of a forgivable loan rather than a grant as an incentive to a potential restaurateur. The funding is limited to $200,000 per qualifying restaurant and requires a 1:1 match by the property owner. The loan would be forgivable if the restaurant were to remain in business at the location for a minimum of five years.

The first proposal came from John Brinsfield, doing business as The Root, LLC. Brinsfield is co-owner of BrickTree Brewing Co., the brewery set to open in the former Eureka Manufacturing Company Cotton Mill. The Root, LLC proposes a 7-and-a-half year triple net lease to own option at $48,000/year. To complete renovation of the building, Ratzlaff Construction, on behalf of the applicant, estimates the costs to be $875,231. The purchase of kitchen equipment would be $163,769.41 based on a quote from Deacon Food Services. The Root, LLC is seeking assistance for these costs, as well as permit costs to be relieved from previous construction and consideration to fairly compensate the original architect for drawings done for the previous Tavern on the Square project. The Root, LLC will fund the purchase price for tables, chairs, bar stools, the bar and other operational needs.

The owner of Zhay’s Bar and Grill, Rahza Adams, submitted a proposal indicating that they wished to relocate the restaurant from its current location on Vandiver Drive in Lincolnton to downtown Lincolnton. Adams stated that he has opened several restaurants, including Zachery’s Fine Dining, LaPaz, Round Bistro, Hickory Tavern, and several others. He predicted that he’d be able to triple his sales from the current location.

The renovation/upfit costs, as estimated by AR Byrd Construction, would be $375,000, which Adams asks that the city provide, as well as HVAC, finish sprinkler system and repairs to the exterior. In return, he proposes a 10-year lease at $3,700/month with an option to buy out after five years.

The proposal contained a hand-drawn floor layout as well as several pages of a petition signed by Zhay’s customers and a copy of the restaurant’s current menu.

The third proposal came from two couples who will operate as Local Roots, LLCP. Each individual comes with their own particular set of skills and background. Ethan Herman has experience managing commercial projects, and his wife, Rachel, is experienced in human resource management. Wes Spainhour brings 15 years of restaurant experience, including working as the sous chef at Harvest Moon Grill, to the table. Deana Spainhour currently works as an investment and trust representative at the Lincolnton branch of the State Employees Credit Union. Both couples reside in Lincolnton.

In their mission statement, the applicants state that they plan to source the main ingredients from local farmers, embrace the fabric of the community and maintain the southern culture and history of the building. The menu is southern-inspired. The price point for lunch is $15/person and for dinner $30/person.

Total estimated construction cost is $450,000 to $600,000. The applicants request that $300,000 to $350,000 of this be paid by the city to invest into the building’s infrastructure. The total estimated restaurant start-up cost is $220,000 and will be paid through personal financing, loans through institutions and angel investors. The applicants indicate that they would like to utilize the $200,000 matching grant money being offered by the city. Local Roots proposes a lease with the option to purchase.

City Council members will now go over these proposals, request additional information if necessary and decide which applicant they would like to work with.

At the regular meeting held after the special meeting, the request from the Boger City Volunteer Fire Department to amend CUP-6-2001 to allow for construction of a fire training center on the site located at 410 McAlister Road was approved. The application from Shu Zheng Zhao, requesting a conditional use permit to allow for an amusement, arcade or game room business located in the Lincoln Station Shopping Center at 906-920 East Main Street was tabled until the December meeting. 

The application from Rebecca Chambers requesting a conditional-use rezoning from Medium Density Residential (R-10) to Neighborhood Business Conditional Use (NB-CU) for the purposes of opening a beauty salon at 603 North Flint Street was denied. The application from the Lincolnton Planning Department requesting the creation of a new chapter (98) to the City Ordinances to regulate abandoned and junked vehicles was approved.

The City Council approved the modification related to aggregate area of accessory structures permitted on a parcel. The previous allowance was one-half of heated ground floor space of house, regardless of lot size.  The new allowance is 30% of required rear yard. An application from Roger Calhoun for a $15,000 Business Incentive Grant for a new business called Movie Magic to be located at 124B East Main was approved. 

Stop signs were approved at the following locations:

  • Oak and Alexander
  • Oak and Pine
  • Sycamore Street and Court Square (currently a yield sign)
  • Travelling west on Pine Street at the Rail Trail
  • Travelling west on Sycamore at the Rail Trail

The City Council approved moving forward with a Joint City/County Master Plan for Parks and Recreation. This saves taxpayers money due to elimination of duplication of efforts and also provides for potential sharing of facilities. They also approved the declaration of surplus property request from the Airport to allow a controlled burn at 406 Secret Hollow Lane, which is owned by the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Regional Airport. 

The council amended the city’s personnel policy, adding Section 20, which prohibits smoking in any building or vehicle owned, leased or occupied by the City of Lincolnton, city-owned employee parking lots and city grounds surrounding city-owned buildings and city parks and recreational facilities, including grounds and parking areas. All council members approved this amendment except for Roby Jetton. 

The color scheme of tan, gray and red/brown masonry with all exposed metal to be black in color with gold lettering was approved for the new Lincolnton police station.

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