The Lincolnton City Council is actively seeking full service/full menu restaurants to open in the downtown area. Discussion was held about a potential incentive plan to bring in this type of business at the council’s regular meeting held Sept. 5.
As an incentive to a potential restaurateur, the city would offer funding that would be in the form of a forgivable loan rather than a grant as has been done in the past. 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 application process will be stringent. Eligible applications will be limited to owners of properties that will be the location of a new or expanding full service/full menu restaurant within downtown Lincolnton. Properties and restaurants that are not eligible include tax delinquent property, property not in good standing with the City of Lincolnton Utility Billing, property with outstanding liens and national restaurant franchises and restaurant chains.
The funds can be used for expenses such as architectural fees, professional services necessary for design plans, physical improvements necessary to create a new or expanding restaurant that meets the program such as expenses involved in the addition of a full commercial kitchen. The minimum number of seats that a qualifying restaurant can have is 50 and the restaurant must be open for business at least six days and 40 hours per week. The security for the loan would be a deed of trust on the property and the addition of the City of Lincolnton as an additional beneficiary or lien holder on insurance policies which would be released after expiration of the five-year term.
Discussion was held on the possibility of there being a waiver on a case by case basis of the national chain eligibility requirements to allow, for example, a national chain steakhouse, which was agreed upon.
The council also discussed and approved a motion allowing requests for proposals for redevelopment of the building located at 110 to 116 East Water Street which is now owned by the city. 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. The city wants a high quality, full service/full menu restaurant to be operated in this location.
Once a potential candidate is selected, the city would 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 and be open at least six days and 40 hours per week. The city wants the existing building to be preserved, not torn down and rebuilt.
The deadline for responses to this request for proposal is Nov. 4.
In other business, the council approved the request for rezoning of property located on the east side of Buffalo Shoals Road across from the Palisades Apartments owned by Jesse Helms from Office Institutional to Rural Residential.
The council proclaimed the week of Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.
An update of work being done on behalf of the Lincolnton Tourism Development Authority was given by Carol King. Updates were also given on ongoing city projects including the sidewalk project along East Pine Street, the dog park and the new police department building.