The development group of Elledge & Associates have proposed the construction of a new hotel in Pineville across from Wasioto Winds Golf Course. The plans will not go forward, however, unless the city of Pineville votes to allow alcoholic beverages to be sold in the hotel's restaurant.
"One thing we need is an election-a moist election," said developer Maurice Elledge. "A facility such as this requires that. Otherwise, it is not a full-service facility."
Elledge cautions that large groups such as conferences will not come to the facility if it does not serve alcohol.
"It is not a moral issue," Elledge said, "it is an economic issue."
Petitions have already begun to ask for a special election on the subject to be held. The election would be to decide whether or not to allow restaurants and dining facilities in the city of Pineville "with a seating capacity of at least one hundred persons and which derive at least 70-percent of their gross receipts from the sale of food" to sell alcoholic beverages. The moist election would most likely not affect the current eating facilities in Pineville, nor would it allow liquor stores or exclusive bars to be opened.
"It's a hotel restaurant," said city councilman Kerry Woolum. "It's not about liquor stores. It's not bars. It's strictly a sit-down restaurant."
Once the required percentage of Pineville residents have signed the petition for the vote, it will be sent to Judge Executive Bill Kelley to verify the signatures and the validity of the voters. If enough of the signatures are of valid and registered voters in Pineville, a special election on the issue could be called within 60-90 days of the petition.
"The council wants the people to decide on this issue," said council member Diana Anderson.
Anderson advised, however, that even if the new law is voted on and passed, the council still holds the power to place further restrictions on the use of alcoholic beverages within city limits.
"The council can pass ordinances limiting anything," Anderson said.
If this new ordinance passes, the development group has already received approval to purchase the property from the state of Kentucky and has met all requirements in finding another suitable facility for the forestry service.
The hotel would be located across from Wasioto Winds Golf Course on 25E where the Bert T. Combs Forestry Building currently stands. The forestry service will be relocated to the current off-track betting facility in Pineville. The off-track betting facility will in turn be relocated next to the new hotel.
Plans for the hotel include a six-story building with 100 rooms, 20 suites, a conference center, restaurant, lounge, fitness center, and exterior pool.
The hotel plans to provide 80 full-time jobs and 40 part-time jobs of various pay scales to the area. Also, about 167 construction jobs are anticipated as a result of the construction.
"We will need a lot of different skilled and unskilled workers," said Elledge. "It is a diverse recipe."
"I do not know of anytime when somebody else has come into Pineville and offered 80-100 jobs," said Woolum. "With coal going out of here, tourism is our future."
The four-star hotel is expected to also bring in significant tax revenue. According to market research, it is projected to bringing in $267,000 annually in KY sales tax and $102,000 annually in property taxes.
"This will be an economic boost for the whole area," Elledge said.
This particular location was chosen, according to Elledge, due to its unique location and accessibility. It is near a park area, across from a golf course, on a major highway linking two major interstates, and there is very little competition in the area.
According to several at the meeting, the Pine Mountain State Resort Park Lodge cannot accommodate all visitors to the area because it is often filled to capacity during peak seasons.
Although no flagship chain has been designated at this time, the architects have designed the facility so that it could easily become part of a chain in the future. The developers feel, however, that a chain name will not be necessary to attract visitors due to the unique location of the facility.
Construction on the hotel is expected to take just a little over a year once it begins. A general contractor for the project has not yet been chosen.
The purchasing of the land and hiring of contractors, builders, and a project manager are on hold until the result of the moist election.
Council member Bruce Nunn thanked Elledge for taking time to present his idea to the council and for the many months of research already put into the project.
"To see it come this far means a lot," Nunn said.