|County opposes incentives for McPherson Hospital project|
DURHAM - County Commissioners on Monday will mull a hotel developer's request for $1 million in incentives from their government to get a long-delayed project at the corner of West Main, West Morgan and Watts streets off the ground.
But County Manager Mike Ruffin is recommending that commissioners turn down the request from the Concord Hospital Enterprises Co.
Ruffin said Concord's planned hotel isn't close enough to the Durham Convention Center and isn't saving enough of the former McPherson Hospital to be worth the county's money.
"This one, I think, [has] just a very weak argument for us to incentivize," Ruffin said, drawing an unfavorable comparison to a pair of inside-the-downtown-loop hotel projects that last year received county pledges of nearly $2.7 million in tax give-backs.
A parallel $1 million incentive request from Concord to the city government is also pending.
City Manager Tom Bonfield said the City Council, after discussing the matter in closed session, has made the company an offer. Further conversations are on hold pending the outcome of the county's deliberations.
Concord's project sits on the edge of the Trinity Park neighborhood and has been in the works since the mid-2000s. It's stalled repeatedly, first because of objections to the initial plan from some Trinity Park residents, and later because of the 2008 real-estate crash.
The project has attracted support from local preservationists because of the McPherson Hospital tie.
The building that remains has stood on the site since 1926. Contractors before the recession hit removed additions that dated from the 1940s and the 1960s.
(The Herald-Sun, 5/4/13)