Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest donaltopablo

Raleigh-Durham: Develop eyes site for resort

2 posts in this topic

Triangle scouted by resort builder

Amanda Jones

CARY - A Dallas, Texas-based resort development group is scouring the Triangle for a site to build a multimillion-dollar hotel, spa and golf course similar to Hyatt and Westin hotel properties it has developed in the western United States.

Woodbine Development Corp. has sent scouts to several cities in Sunbelt states looking for potential project sites.

"Raleigh-Durham is one of the cities we looked at," says Les Melcher, senior vice president of business development for Woodbine. "There are a lot of areas there that'd be great locations."

Woodbine is an affiliate of Hunt Realty Co. and Hunt Oil Co., which are directed by Dallas businessman Ray Hunt. With a personal fortune of $2.3 billion, Hunt is listed among the top 400 richest Americans by Forbes magazine.

Melcher has looked at property bordering Research Triangle Park, in the Brier Creek area and in west Cary. No land has been put under contract for purchase.

Melcher says his group has not looked in other areas of North Carolina and is most interested in sites near Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Research Triangle Park.

He says the size of a project in the Triangle could be as large as a 500-room hotel and golf course resort or perhaps a small hotel adjacent to an existing golf course. "We like the area," Melcher says.

Woodbine is known for resort destinations it has developed in Texas, Arizona and Nevada. Notable among them is the $180 million Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the $100 million Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, Texas.

The group has focused much of its research in the Triangle on talks with town leaders in Cary about a joint venture that would include a public golf course the town has proposed to build.

Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister confirms that he has had discussions with Woodbine developers. He terms them as preliminary.

Bob Leak, a principal in the Leak- Goforth development company that has offices in Raleigh and Jacksonville, Fla., says Woodbine is interested in the potential for partnering with a golf course developed by the town of Cary. Leak Goforth has been hired as a consultant by Woodbine.

Cary town leaders commissioned a feasibility study in June 2002 that showed a demand for either an 18-hole or 27-hole public golf course in the city. A second feasibility study focused on 240 acres the town owns on Green Level Road near a future leg of Interstate 540.

McAlister says the town has several other capital projects planned in 2004, and the golf course is not at the top of the priority list.

"We are getting ready to go into another tight budget year, and we're going to have to prioritize our spending," he says. "I'm not going to say we wouldn't consider (a golf course), but we'll base that on what we hear from the citizens."

Still, McAlister added, "If we are going to do it, these guys are great to do it with."

The closest luxury resort destinations to the Triangle are 68 miles south of Raleigh at Pinehurst and 86 miles west at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro.

The Triangle's only AAA four-diamond or five-diamond hotels are Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham and the Arrowhead Inn Bed and Breakfast in Durham.

Debra VanEvery, president of event planning company Resort Destinations in Cary, says a project of Woodbine's caliber would attract conferences that traditionally have gone out of state.

"About 95 percent of my meetings are not coming here ... because we just don't have resort properties," she says. "We've got the business demand to fill them, and it's something that's much needed, quite frankly."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


That's what we need right now... a sprawling development, as if we haven't seen enough damage done. Oh well, developers can always find a reason to build a 500-room hotel, except when we need to build a convention hotel. That's when we get all the losers... and we have to pay them big bucks, too. At least resorts bring some tourism. It's not as if that area could ever become urban, anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.