Developer now wants 4-story hotel in downtown Fayetteville

Developer Steven Gulas proposes a hotel near downtown Fayetteville. Photo/Ben Nelms.

A special exception proposal for a hotel to be located just north of downtown Fayetteville on North Glynn Street was tabled on April 25 by the Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Commission.

Planning commissioners in February approved the site adjacent to the Dunkin’ Donuts store for a two-story building with 10,800 sq. ft. on the first floor and six apartments on the second floor.

Developer Steven Gulas was back before planning commissioners on April 25 to request a change that would locate a four-story hotel on the site. Hotels are allowed by special exception in the C-1 (downtown commercial) zoning district.

The hotel will likely carry the Comfort Suites brand. As proposed, the hotel would come with 63 guest rooms and total 43,000 sq. ft.

City planning staff recommended approval if the hotel were situated perpendicular to the highway.

Aside from a briefly-stated concern by Chairman Sarah Murphy about the building being proposed for four floors and a response by Gulas saying it could be only three floors if other conditions were met, the bulk of the conversation dealt with whether the hotel would be positioned parallel or perpendicular to the highway.

A part of the discussion also dealt with the potential future extension of Lafayette Avenue across North Glynn Street and extending to Church Street. The hotel project, if approved, would need to take that extension into account and could play a part in how the building would be situated on the property.

Several speakers during public comments expressed their opposition to the project, with some noting what they said were the undesirable changes in Fayetteville over the decades, especially in terms of increases in population density and traffic.

Also citing the presence of a hotel just a block away in downtown, city staff said the Holiday Inn is currently under contract and might not remain as a hotel.

Gulas in his comments on the appropriateness of another hotel said hotels in Fayette County have a 75 percent occupancy rate. He also noted that a hotel would bring less traffic than the retail and apartments for which the property was previously approved.

Commissioners briefly continued their discussion, with acting Planning Director Jahnee Prince advising that a decision on the proposal could be made without deciding on the building’s placement on the property.

Nonetheless, commissioners voted unanimously to table the item without giving a reason.