Plan to help build commerce off I-95 exit 45 moves forward
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Apr 29, 2014, 13:54
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Several hotels and restaurants are located off of Interstate 95 exit 45 in Prince George.
PRINCE GEORGE — The Prince George Board of Supervisors approved a plan to improve commerce in the area of exit 45 on I-95.
The tourism zone ordinance was reviewed last week and the board has set a public hearing to hear the community’s view on completing this project. The public hearing will take place at the May 13 Board of Supervisors meeting.
The ordinance will include local incentives, which will be put into place in order to attract a chain restaurant to the area. Currently there is no sit-down, chain restaurant in the area, which the board believes will bring more travelers off the exit and into the area.
Currently there are a number of hotels in the exit 45 area, including the Days Inn, the Howard Johnson Inn, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn and the Quality Inn. Additional businesses in the area include a Cash Depot, Lighthouse Seafood, and Nanny’s Restaurant.
Jeff Stokes, the deputy county administrator, presented the plans for the project at the April 22 meeting. According to Stokes, bringing a larger chain restaurant to the area will involve the help of the hotels located on South Crater Road, which will help to reach out to the chain restaurants.
“We’ve spoken to hotels, and they are willing to help and have reached out to those kinds of restaurants to come to the area,” Stokes said.
A main concern with trying to build commerce in the area involves businesses which are already being operated along Crater Road.
The way some of the businesses look makes travelers want to get right back on the exit and continue, said board member Alan Carmichael.
With this plan, existing businesses as well as new businesses will receive incentives to try and help with expansion. The plan includes five incentives.
Any new business opening in the tourism zone will receive a 50 percent discount on connection fees for water and sewer. New businesses will also receive a 25 percent rebate on collected meals tax revenue for five years. Businesses will also begin to participate in the state financing program, which requires the county to pay back a percentage of sales tax back to the businesses to help pay off financing of the project.
Businesses will also receive a 25 percent rebate of any new local sales tax, meals tax, or transient occupancy tax for five years.
Any business in the area would be eligible for the incentives as long as the business makes a capital improvement of at least $125,000 and creates five new, full-time jobs. New businesses will be eligible for the incentives if the business makes a $250,000 capital improvement and creates 10 full-time jobs.
The public hearing on May 13 will allow area community members and business owners to convey to the board their thoughts on the project. Project leaders are also planning on having meetings with local business owners to get their thoughts and ideas on how to build the area commerce.